Skip to content

Food & Recipes

Font Size

Mediterranean Diet Cuts Metabolic Syndrome Risk

Fifty Studies of a Half Million People Show That a Mediterranean-Style Diet Reduces Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

Mediterranean Diet Helps Prevent and Treat Metabolic Syndrome continued...

“This is an excellent study in terms of depth -- to combine 50 studies for a total of over half a million participants is tremendous and gives excellent ... information,” says Jessica Bartfield, MD, an internist at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, part of Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Ill.

“The conclusion that consumption of a Mediterranean diet lowers the prevalence and progression of the metabolic syndrome helps better support data from trials that already suggest this,” she says in an email. “We know omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in olive oil and other monounsaturated fats, are anti-inflammatory.”

Inflammation is a known risk factor for heart disease and stroke, she says. “It makes sense that a Mediterranean diet can tame this inflammation and provide a protective benefit,” she says.

That said, the new study does have its share of limitations. “The studies varied greatly in terms of length with some as short as four weeks, some as long as four years, and only a few were conducted in the U.S. population where the food culture varies tremendously by region,” she says.

But “in the never-ending quest for the ‘perfect diet’ -- low-fat, high-protein, low-carb, no-sugar ... I would say that the Mediterranean diet comes pretty close,” she says.

Simple Changes, Big Benefits

Suzanne Steinbaum, MD, director of women and heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, is a big advocate of the Mediterranean lifestyle. “This is the only thing I recommend for people,” she says. “This is a lifestyle, not a diet."

Little changes go a long, long way, she says.

“Fats don’t have to be creamy,” she says. “Cook with a tomato-based sauce with olive oil, and get rid of fried foods and grill with olive oil instead,” she says. “Choose different grains instead of white rice, and eat more fish and nuts and legumes and vegetables."

Being more active is also a part of this lifestyle, she says.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Four spoons with mustards
What condiments are made of and how much to use.
salmon and spinach
How to get what you need.
grilled veggies
Easy ideas for dinner tonight.
Greek Salad
Health benefits, what you can eat and more.

WebMD Recipe Finder

Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.

roasted chicken
grilled steak

Loaded with tips to help you avoid food allergy triggers.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

vegetarian sandwich
vegan soup
Foods To Boost Mens Heath Slideshow