Mediterranean diet affirmed as best for the heart

You may want to consider a Mediterranean Thanksgiving.

A new study from Johns Hopkins affirms that a diet made with unsaturated fat from avocados, olive oil and nuts improves heart health.

“The introduction of the right kind of fat into a healthy diet is another tool to reduce the risk of future heart disease,” said Dr. Meghana Gadgil, a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of General Internal Medicine in Hopkins School of Medicine who presented research at the American Heart Association’s scientific sessions in Orlando recently.

Gadgil and her colleagues looked at three balanced diets on 164 people with mild hypertension but no diabetes. They compared the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar and maintain healthy insulin levels while on a Mediterranean diet, on a protein-rich diet and on a carbohydrate-rich diet. They kept everyone at their starting weight.

The unsaturated fats in the Mediterranean diet improved insulin use significantly more than the carb-heavy diet, which included white bread and pasta.

“A lot of studies have looked at how the body becomes better at using insulin when you lose weight,” Gadgil said. “We kept the weight stable so we could isolate the effects of the macronutrients. What we found is that you can begin to see a beneficial impact on heart health even before weight loss.”

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