A meta-analysis of 56 unique studies, reviewed by Hanna E. Bloomfield, MD, MPH, from the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Minnesota and colleagues has shown that the high ‘good’ fat content of the colourful Mediterranean Diet, was associated with a reduction of breast cancer risk (57%) and colorectal cancer risk (9%), a reduction in diabetes risk (30%) and a reduction in cardiovascular risk (29%).
All cancer mortality declined by 14%.
The study was produced by the Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes in The University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
“We found in our study… that healthy diets can include a lot of fat, especially if it´s healthy fat,” said Bloomfield.
Typically, the colourful Mediterranean Diet, or Rainbow Diet, contains much higher levels of healthy fat – such as the unsaturated fats of cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil, olives, nut oils (like walnuts), seeds such as sunflower, and oily fish. But it also includes high fat foods like goats’ cheese, sheep’s cheese and rillettes not usually seen as healthy.
The original study was produced in 2016, with updates and comment in March 2017 (1).
Cancer mortality and fat
A number of separate studies have shown that people on a low fat diet increase their survival. Cancer cells are now known to ‘load up’ with fat in order to spread. In particular it is saturated fat that drives this spread through the lymph nodes. there is research showing lipophilic statins, which reduce levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream and tissues, increase survival.
Go to: Saturated fat drives cancer
Heart disease risk and fat consumption
But the findings on cancer are quite different from those of heart disease. Here, two meta-analyses have shown that the culprit in cardiovascular disease may not be fat consumption after all; with sugar consumption and insulin causing inflammation in the arteries, and the inflammation causing the fat to ‘stick’ and cause restrictions. The Rainbow Diet is low in sugar.
The fact that fat consumption had little to do with cardiovascular risk was shown in a separate 2014 meta-study and another in 2010 – no difference was seen in cardiovascular risk between those consuming a high fat diet and those on a low fat diet
Go to – Meta-Study shows saturated fat has no influence on heart disease risk
Anti-inflammatory effects of Mediterranean Diet
The reasons for these findings revolve around inflammation and insulin control. However, gut bacteria also play a crucial role. Both olive oil and fish oils are known to increase levels of gut bacteria making anti-inflammatory molecules. A diverse microbiome is thus important.
New research has shown that the lack of food diversity in the Paleo Diet increases highly inflammatory TMAO levels in the body, and endangers the health of the gut microbiome while inflaming the liver, whereas a Mediterranean Diet prompts a much more diverse and healthy gut microbiome and an increase in bacteria known to produce anti-inflammatory molecules.
Equally bad for you – there is research (2) showing that throwing handfuls of fruits into a blender heightens your intake of sugars (“as bad for you as drinking a can of soft drink”) while also pushing up inflammatory insulin levels.Blending handful of fruit has absolutely nothing to do with the real healthy Rainbow Diet.
and ‘eat a Rainbow’ and good fats every day
- Effects on Health outcomes of a Mediterranean Diet with no restrictions on fat intake – Bloomfield, Koeller, Greer et al
- Fruit sugar in juice as bad for you as fizzy soft drinks