• Due to excessive bot signups along with nefarious actors we are limiting forum registration. Keep checking back for the register link to appear. Please do not send emails or have someone post to the forum asking for a signup link. Until the current climate changes we do not see a change of this policy. To join the forum you must have a compelling reason. Letting us know what skills/knowledge you will bring to the community along with the intent of your stay here will help in getting you approved.

Mediterranean Diet Study Has Been Retracted, Health Link No Longer Causative

haidut

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
18,170
Location
USA / Europe
By now, there is probably no adult in the Western world who has not heard of the Mediterranean diet and all of its supposed benefits for health. While the buzz about the diet has been going on for decades, a massive study was published in 2013, which pretty much legitimized the health claims made by nutritionists and dieticians in regards to the diet.
https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1200303

Well, that study above was retracted last week due to poor study design. The poor design included lack of proper randomization and in some cases massive assumptions about study participants that were presented as solid facts. As a result, the study has been re-analyzed and about to be republished. The new study will still claim that there is a positive link between the diet and good health outcomes. But the link will no longer be claimed to be causative. I personally suspect that the health benefits are due to the way of life of the communities in that part of the world and not so much in the diet. When the diet was tried as an intervention in a few clinicals trials in US and some Asian countries, it did not result in any improvement in the measured biomarkers. Maybe it is because the olive oil used in the intervention trials is nothing like the "real deal" used in Mediterranean countries. I know @Such_Saturation feels pretty strongly about that having tries both the local Italian olive oil and the commercial varieties sold around the world :):

The most important study of the Mediterranean diet has been retracted

"...In 2013, the New England Journal of Medicine published a landmark study that found that people put on a Mediterranean diet had a 30% lower chance of heart attack, stroke, or death from cardiovascular disease than people on a low-fat diet. It received massive media and public attention when released, and since has been cited by 3,268 other scientific papers. The study had tremendous impact on the field of nutrition and health science. Yesterday (June 13), however, the journal retracted the study—providing a new reason for skepticism about how effective the now-popular Mediterranean diet really is. The reasons for the withdrawal are complicated, having to do with the methodology of the study. As Alison McCook of the Retraction Watch blog writes for NPR, this retraction is the result of the work of John Carlisle, a British anesthesiologist and self-taught statistician. Carlisle has spent recent years analyzing over 5,000 published randomized controlled trials (the gold standard of medical science research) to see how likely they were to have actually been properly randomized. In 2017, he reported his results: at least 2% of the studies were problematic."

"...As Cook reports, the lead author of the paper, Miguel Ángel Martínez González, saw Carlisle’s analysis and decided to follow up with a thorough review of the study design. The study was supposed to randomly assign participants to either the Mediterranean diet with a minimum of four extra tablespoons of olive oil a day, the same diet but with at least an ounce of mixed nuts, or a low-fat diet. But Martínez González found that of the approximately 7,500 participants in the study, 14% had not actually been randomly assigned. Instead, many married couples were assigned to the same group. In one particularly troubling case, a field researcher decided to assign an entire village to a single group, because some residents were complaining that their neighbors were getting free olive oil. The field researcher working never reported the decision. Martínez González and his team spent a year reanalyzing the data, working with outside experts. The end result is that the study’s overall findings are still accurate in one sense: There is a correlation between the Mediterranean diet and better health outcomes. But in another sense, the paper was entirely wrong: the Mediterranean diet does not cause better health outcomes. That might seem like a minor difference, but in the world of medical science, it’s incredibly significant, and the change robs the study of much of its original power."
 

haidut

Member
Thread starter
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
18,170
Location
USA / Europe

Spokey

Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2014
Messages
321
The premise of the Mediterranean diet being low red meat always bothered me, after all I associate Italian cooking with bolognese sauce, lasagna, osso bucu, and then elsewhere in the med they're scarfing down lamb shanks and cheese. It reminds me of the notion spread around that the traditional southern Japanese diets were vegan, which I suppose is true if you ignore all the pork and fish they slammed down, a lot of it stewed in sugar that everyone is so terrified of (and they produce locally).
 

haidut

Member
Thread starter
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
18,170
Location
USA / Europe
The premise of the Mediterranean diet being low red meat always bothered me, after all I associate Italian cooking with bolognese sauce, lasagna, osso bucu, and then elsewhere in the med they're scarfing down lamb shanks and cheese. It reminds me of the notion spread around that the traditional southern Japanese diets were vegan, which I suppose is true if you ignore all the pork and fish they slammed down, a lot of it stewed in sugar that everyone is so terrified of (and they produce locally).

True, I am not sure who started the whole rumor of Mediterranean diet being low in red meat but that is its current definition in Western medicine. Come to think of it, Portugal, France, Spain, and of course Italy (but especially the first 3) are very heavy meat-consuming regions, with pork, game, poultry, beef and lamb (more in the Greece/Turkey region) being cornerstones of the local diet. Dairy too.
Maybe the study should be renamed "Faux Mediterranean not linked to improved health".
 
L

lollipop

Guest
Ha, well if it has a decent amount of red meat then it is not quite "Mediterranean", is it? Nothing against the Mediterranean diet, I just think it has become another marketing tool, with very little meaning and impossible to reliably define.
True. Marketing possibilities abound - lol.
 

burtlancast

Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
2,937
Well, where does that leave Michel De Lorgeril then ?

After first being for the cholesterol disease theory, then switching to the mediteranean diet, is he now back to square one ?

We need to get him asap enough shirts to put back on.
 
Last edited:

yerrag

Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2016
Messages
8,774
Location
Manila
True. Marketing possibilities abound - lol.
Oy vey, there in no Neapolitan ice cream in Naples. Is there a Mediterranean diet in the Mediterranean?
 
Joined
Nov 26, 2013
Messages
7,367
I don't know about Spain but here in Italy people change what they eat every month of the year and every 100 miles of territory. Olive oil is prevalent but we are talking about teaspoons a day. The benefit is probably from not having the seed oils instead.
 

dbh25

Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
639
I don't know about Spain but here in Italy people change what they eat every month of the year and every 100 miles of territory. Olive oil is prevalent but we are talking about teaspoons a day. The benefit is probably from not having the seed oils instead.
Has the obesity rate there changed?
 
Joined
Nov 26, 2013
Messages
7,367
Has the obesity rate there changed?
On average for sure. But for example, my grandmother wasn’t exactly thin either. I imagine because of the war famine, but who can say.
 

Sharbysyd

Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
22
I'm fairly new to this forum but not new to learning about how to eat and be healthy. These kinds of things frustrate me so much. I feel like it's hard to believe any of the studies. I wish someone would just get the right info out there. I'm hoping that it's Ray Peat. I'm still learning about this way of eating and haven't transitioned yet from low carb, but I'm sold on the PUFA thing so far.
 

yerrag

Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2016
Messages
8,774
Location
Manila
No, just like the use of that expression.
 

Whichway?

Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2018
Messages
312
I personally suspect that the health benefits are due to the way of life of the communities in that part of the world and not so much in the diet.

I believe this as well after reading about a lot of the blue zones in the world where people are freer from the major diseases which kill Westeners. Low stress lifestyle and jobs, lack of hurry sickness and clock watching, high social connectedness and support, consumption of locally grown produce, and moderate exercise and outdoor lifestyle. All of these things cannot be made up for by vitamin supplements, bouts of aerobic exercise and drugs.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
Hans Low fat diet is equally as effective as Mediterranean diet for fat loss and health Scientific Studies 3
Mito Key Mediterranean Diet Trial Retracted Articles & Scientific Studies 10
Peata The Mediterranean Diet Discussing Dietary Models 22
Cameron Thoughts On Mediterranean Foods Like Pepperoncini And Olives With Cheese Diet, Recipes 2
H Mediterranean Anemia Since Birth Ask For Help or Advice 1
Apollo Senegalese diet: all men are very tall and strong Diet, Recipes 15
ursidae Ray Peat’s Thoughts on the Appropriate Amount of Fat in a Diet Diet 52
k2896 What easy recommendations to give to friends who have never been fussed about their diet Diet 3
David PS Diet-related diseases pose a major risk for Covid-19. But the U.S. overlooks them. Diet 21
A Homestead group seeking new members—focused on dairy, ruminant animals, tropical fruit, & no-seed/no-PUFA diet Society 7
K My Personal Version of Peat Diet - low protein and very little fat. Diet 15
G Vitamins/Minerals One Needs To Supplement On a "Peat" Diet? Ask For Help or Advice 25
PeatandPotatoes Your early Peat inspired diet vs. now Diet 4
Finishing some diet experiments Diet 0
Broken man Goat’s Milk Intake Prevents Obesity, Hepatic Steatosis and Insulin Resistance in Mice Fed A High-Fat Diet Scientific Studies 56
Going back to more starchy diet? Diet 7
Rate my diet Diet 4
D Rate my diet Diet 16
M What would a good Low histamine diet look like? Ask For Help or Advice 16
miquelangeles The Taliban diet Discussing Dietary Models 180
G Unstable morning temps/ candida / diet Thyroid and Hormones 14
Mito Vitamin K Intake and Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease in the Danish Diet Cancer and Health Study K 13
W Low histamine diet Discussing Dietary Models 42
Hans How to re-introduce carbs back on a carnivore or keto diet: discussing FODMAP Video Interviews 6
jamies33 Egg allergy discovered through elimination diet Eggs 33
OccamzRazer Has anyone tried a low PRAL, lowish carb diet? Discussing Dietary Models 12
OccamzRazer Has anyone brute-forced their way to a mostly milk diet? Diet 26
J NW-1 eats pufa and keto diet Hair & Nails 33
D Introducing: The Peaty Diet Discussing Dietary Models 8
R Hypothetical Scenario: Vaccine (with Ray Peat Diet) or No vaccine (Without Ray Peat Diet) Supplements, Pharmaceutical Drugs 7
Rinse & rePeat The Japanese Diet Mystery Solved! Diet 46
L Erythromelalgia vs Ray Peat's Diet Ask For Help or Advice 8
Hans Simple diet modifications to maximize puberty Articles & Scientific Studies 73
B How would I go about bulking on a starch free diet (Any Recommendations?) Ask For Help or Advice 29
S Gluten free diet modulates my constipation and ED Experiments 6
S Fat people should chose between high-fat ot high carb diet? Metabolism 12
yerrag Dr. Robert Young - And Tom Brady- Practicing Very Anti-Peat Diet and Claims To Be Staying Healthy and Young WTF? Diet 54
Eastcoast Seth [HELP] Best Diet Plan/Lifestyle for Optimal Testosterone? Ask For Help or Advice 8
R Anybody eating Peat inspired and low sulfur? If so, what does your diet look like? Diet 2
Z Domestic Animal Diet R&D Animals 15
haidut Maternal high-PUFA diet causes alcoholism, aggressiveness, early puberty, and hyper-estrogenism in offspring Scientific Studies 0
A Do chinese people have higher iq s due to low phosphate content in their diet ? Diet 1
8 Viruses other than SARS-CoV-2 that permanently produce proteins? And spike protein's unique effects to diet-autoimmune dynamic? Viruses, Parasites, Fungus, Vaccines 11
UseYourDelusion Carnivore Diet and Blood Sugar Blood Sugar 20
S UK doctor switches to 80% ULTRA-processed food diet for 30 days 🍔🍕🍟 BBC Diet 28
A Best and easy way to keep teeth healthy and white on a Peat diet? Diet 17
M Diet advice for many calories for very active people that can’t eat a lot. Diet 22
P Is Durianrider a sirloin and an omelette away from having a great diet? Diet 12
B How much added sodium on an all-milk diet? Milk 23
DannyIrons™ Back on the Ray Peat 'Diet'. Ask For Help or Advice 22

Similar threads

Top