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Monday, February 25, 2013

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Nuts, Olive Oil, Heart Disease

Among persons at high cardiovascular risk, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts reduced the incidence of major cardiovascular events.

The Mediterranean Diet is now science-science, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. (Gina Kolata summarizes: "The study ended early, after almost five years, because the results were so clear it was considered unethical to continue.")



80 Comments / Post A Comment

Nicole Cliffe

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
I hastily downed a glug of EVOO
And a fistful of almonds.

area@twitter

So I can continue to bathe in olive oil? YES. (also, brb, eating all of the almonds)

milenakent

Looks good for me@n

wallsdonotfall

Subsisting entirely on pita, hummus, sauteed vegetables and baklava counts, right?

(that's a semi-genuine question)

Amphora

@wallsdonotfall As long as you wash it down with seven glasses of wine.

wallsdonotfall

@wallsdonotfall Real talk: I have wanted to eat like this for a long time (supplemented with some northern Italian pasta and Middle Eastern dishes), but I love to bake and can't see myself stopping. Does anyone have cookbook/recipe blog recommendations for baking with olive oil and honey?

Lily Rowan

@wallsdonotfall Not specific recs, but kosher Jews should have the good oil cake recipes, so you can eat them after a meat dinner.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@wallsdonotfall
Chloe Coscarelli has oil cupcake recipes that I've been able to produce with great success and little effort. The recipes call for canola oil, though, and olive's flavor might be an issue.

cupcakecore@twitter

@wallsdonotfall I always thought I could live on bread + hummus, now it seems like maybe I can?! Garlic hummus is magical and wonderful and I love it forever.

cupcakecore@twitter

@wallsdonotfall Ta-da: http://cheaphealthygood.blogspot.com/2007/12/wacky-cakes-and-crazy-ladies.html no dairy no eggs, still pretty tasty. I would imagine a decent olive oil would overpower the chocolate but I'm not sure.

wallsdonotfall

Yay, so much good here! I think I'll experiment to see whether these Greek honey cookies can be made entirely with olive oil, since many other recipes call for butter.

Frisky@twitter

@wallsdonotfall Something like this? I love a good olive oil cake. http://www.oregonlive.com/foodday/index.ssf/2008/06/recipe_detail.html?id=7261

Hot Doom

@wallsdonotfall FUNNY YOU SHOULD ASK. I just made this recipe for an almond olive oil cake yesterday and it is seriously one of the best cakes I've ever had, let alone made made(and the other commenters on Serious Eats who made it have had similar success). I don't know how well honey would sub in it, but it is still delightful without the sugar glaze (which could defs be swapped for honey). It's incredibly easy too. I made the batter in about 15 minutes, including the time it took to grind almonds in the processor and juice an orange. MAKE IT NOW.

Ellie

@wallsdonotfall I tend to use olive oil at random when I don't have canola oil e.g. in brownies or muffins and have had no ill result. I am so far from a "serious baker" and I like weird tasting baked goods, though.

Lily Rowan

@wallsdonotfall Also, Natalie Eve Garrett's work on this very site! http://thehairpin.com/slug/olive-oil/

Nicole Cliffe

I made her dark chocolate and olive oil cake and it was a REVELATION.

Amphora

Okay, can we stop talking about the paleo diet now?

(and do TJ's cinnamon almonds count for nut servings? Cause I could eat two bags a day)

(ETA my link back)

Nicole Cliffe

NEVER. (pulls up chair, extracts handful of pamphlets with pictures of wolves on them, looks excited)

Amphora

@MaxBraverman Don't get me wrong, I like the routine, but calling it "paleo" just seems silly and reductive.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@Amphora
Oh my. Recently I had to spend half of a networking dinner pretending I didn't know what it was so as not to seem rude.

Though with the level of naivete I was able to fake, perhaps I should consider a second career as a female romantic lead.

chrysopoeia

@Amphora If you look at the Mediterranean outlined for the participants in this study, it is, essentially, a paleo diet.

Amphora

@chrysopoeia But without the trendy caveman nomenclature! And less bacon fat (mmm, bacon fat)

cupcakecore@twitter

@Amphora My best friend has a master's degree in archeology, she specializes in botany and hates the paleo diet for the piles of inaccuracies it contains. She doesn't feel qualified enough to write a whole essay on it but I have heartily encouraged her work on it because she is smart and awesome.

highfivesforall

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll So, should we call that cavemansplaining?

Blushingflwr

@Amphora I don't have a problem with the paleo diet in terms of what you do/don't eat (I am of the "people should eat what makes them feel good physically and emotionally in the short and long term" school), but calling it "paleo" bothers me so much. It is not based on any legitimate understanding of what our paleolithic ancestors ate, and also is reductive in assuming that all paleolithic humans ate the same thing, regardless of where on earth they lived.

Blushingflwr

@chrysopoeia Except they encouraged legumes, which are a paleo no-no (for reasons I do not comprehend)

chrysopoeia

@Amphora I don't know why people keep harping on poor paleo. Not all countries surrounding the Mediterranean eat the foods recommended on the "Mediterranean" diet, but no one is crucifying it for its wild inaccuracies.

Paleo equals food probably eaten by pre-agrarian non-industrial societies, but that's just not as catchy as a label.

MaxBraverman

@chrysopoeia I don't think pre-agrarian non-industrial societies ate paleo pancakes, cupcakes, etc... that are just loaded sugar bombs.

meetapossum

@Blushingflwr I am also confused by that. I've also seen paleo sites that recommend not eating nightshades because they're New World foods. Like, so wtf are you supposed to eat??

SarahP

@meetapossum Hahahaha I can't eat nightshades (because I'm allergic to them) and I often wonder the same thing ;)

Blushingflwr

@MaxBraverman Also, they didn't eat nearly so much bacon.

chrysopoeia

@MaxBraverman Ugh that stuff is garbage, but as far as I know it's not heartily endorsed by the big paleo people? But for every diet, there's going to be someone hawking that stuff. Remember those Kraft South Beach meals? Way to ruin a good thing.

stuffisthings

@Amphora I choose to interpret the "paleo diet" as eating the foods an unfrozen caveman would eat in our time. E.g. ALL THE BACON.

Blushingflwr

@stuffisthings Yeah, I'm pretty sure your average paleolithic subsistence individual was not actually counting calories/food intake. "Am I hungry" "is this safe to eat" and "does it taste good" were the primary considerations, in that order. They probably would eat bacon if presented with the opportunity.

Jacinthe

@meetapossum Maybe eggplant, which is a nightshade and native to the Indian Subcontinent.

MaxBraverman

Six almonds is not a snack.

aphrabean

@MaxBraverman No, it is not.

raised amongst catalogs

@MaxBraverman Exactly. A garnish, maybe.

SarahP

@MaxBraverman They are if you eat them with a handful of chocolate chips!

Hot Doom

@SarahP Like I am doing right now.

HMSBeagle

I'm hoping this applies to the super cheap olive oil. I read somewhere that there's a big difference between the good stuff and the stuff that I can afford. Like, the cheap stuff is likely rancid or mixed with all sorts of nastiness.

causedbycomma

@hyaluronan Well, crap. Because I really like the cheap stuff (and wouldn't even know where to go for fancy olive oil!)...

up cubed

@hyaluronan My mom told me she's also heard this- (according to her) the best is imported Italian, and it is good if refrigerator temps cause it to get semi-solid. But then the taste is supposed to degrade if you refrigerate it :(

Marquise de Morville

@hyaluronan Often "imported Italian" is turns out to be Spanish olive oil that gets (re-)packaged in Italy and then sold. Spain produces more olive oil than Italy. Buying cheaper olive oil should work, if you stick to cold-pressed. Price is not always closely related to quality if marketing is involved.

stuffisthings

FINALLY the scientific evidence I need to proceed with my all-cassoulet diet plan.

photoalice

I'd like to be in the control group that was all hamburgers and onion rings. For science, you understand.

stuffisthings

@photoalice That's not only unhealthy but also unethical.

photoalice

@stuffisthings I'll sign a waiver.

tea sonata

Nuts, though. DELICIOUS

Speaking diets and SCIENCE, I'm starting the Alternate-Day diet after being intrigued by a Fasting Documentary on the BBC. Do your worst, Science.

Ellie

@tea sonata I used to be a member of several eating disorder forums and some crazy chick in one of them was on one of those, called JUDDD or something like that. You ate 200 calories, then nothing, then 400 calories, then nothing, then 600, then 800, then 1000 (if you were feeling fat, you cut out the 1000 day). I take it yours is a little less wack than that.

cuminafterall

@tea sonata I've been doing intermittent fasting for ~6 months now and it's been great for me. I do the kind where you eat 3 meals a day, but all between noon and 8 PM. (I kind of abandon it on weekends, though.) This site has some good info on various fasting methods, including things to watch out for so you don't turn intermittent fasting into disordered eating.

mmwm

I pretty much adhere to this, with more nuts in the mix ... But 1 liter of olive oil per week extra? That seems like a lot to me!

stuffisthings

@mmwm The trick is you have to use much bigger syringes.

wee_ramekin

@mmwm Well, I think the other thing about the Mediterranean diet is that almost all the fat in the diet comes from olive oil or fish, which are polyunsaturated (i.e. "good" fats) as opposed to red meat or cheese, which have a lot of saturated fats (i.e. "bad" fats) in them.

So, if one were to eat the Mediterranean way, you could probably up your olive oil intake significantly without seeing any negative effects, but only if you really cut down on red meats, poultry and cheeses.

ETA: I don't really like calling them "good" and "bad" fats, 'cuz that puts quasi value judgement on those foods. Just using those terms because that something a lot of folks have heard. Also, from a scientific and nutritional stand-point, polyunsaturated fats are easier for your body to use and are more nutrient-dense when compared to saturated fats.

SuperGogo

@wee_ramekin I'm curious why you would be hesitant to label those fats as good and bad when plenty of studies and research have replicated their positive and negative effects on health: saturated fat raises LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while mono- and polyunsaturated fats raise HDL cholesterol. Why be skittish about a value judgement when science backs it up with evidence?

wee_ramekin

@SuperGogo Fair points!

I think I'm a little skittish about using "good" and "bad" like that because I see a tendency for folks to hear the word "bad" related to a certain food, and then assume that the food in question is "unhealthy". I mean, red meat isn't a bad thing to eat! It's got lots of protein and nutrients and is delicious! It's just that because of its higher saturated fat content, it's not necessarily something you want to be chowing down on at every meal.

I know that about red meat, and it sounds like you know it, but someone who hasn't had a nutrition class might hear that red meats have "bad" fats and then feel like they should write them off completely, or feel defensive about their food choices. I think that because there's already so much weird hype and antagonistic feelings about foods, it's generally better to stay away from the words "good" and "bad" if you're interested in helping people make healthier eating choices.

Except in the case of trans-fats. 'Cuz those little fuckers are just bad, and I don't care who knows it!

missupright

@wee_ramekin I'm really glad you explained this- I've never done any sort of nutrition class, and my reaction was definitely "oh god oh god I ate red meat last week that was bad of me". etc. so thank you.

Onymous

@mmwm Jesus I can't even afford a liter of olive oil a week.

SuperGogo

@wee_ramekin That makes perfect sense, thanks. And yes, death to the trans-fats!

Julia duMais

I feel like you've neglected what might be, for your readership, the most relevant part of all: They were [...] to have at least 7 glasses of wine a week with meals.

I have to get way more serious about my wine consumption, three glasses on the weekend just ain't going to cut it. It'll be tough, but it's my health, it's worth it in the long run.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@Julia duMais
“Now along comes this group and does a gigantic study in Spain that says you can eat a nicely balanced diet with fruits and vegetables and olive oil and lower heart disease by 30 percent,” he said. “And you can actually enjoy life.”

Judith Slutler

@Julia duMais Wait, at least 7 glasses? Doesn't a bottle of wine contain 7-8 drinks in the definitions used in all these studies?

Miss Maszkerádi

@Julia duMais I mis-read that at first as seven glasses of wine per meal. I mean, I can hold my own at the pub, but DAMN. Time for spring training.

Judith Slutler

@Countess Maritza Ahaha I thought the same thing. Oh the hangovers I would have!

cupcakecore@twitter

I am on the "have been sick for 2 weeks so nothing appeals to me" diet. It's working out okay so far. I thought I had my appetite back and then I didn't.

fondue with cheddar

@cupcakecore@twitter I'm on the toothache diet. Pasta, yogurt, and cake. I also bought some pudding to eat at work. Oh, and Vicodin.

whizz_dumb

@fondue with cheddar I wish you hadn't mentioned the Vicodin, now I have a huge craving for Percocet.

Nicole Cliffe

'I do Paleo, but with Percocet.'

does it need saying

@fondue with cheddar mmm... pudding and vicodin

fondue with cheddar

Oh, you guys. ;) It's actually not strong enough to make me feel anything other than "less pain". In fact, I still feel the pain a little but, but I'm rationing leftover pills while I wait for my root canal appointment. I ran out of the Percocet this weekend.

I've never really gotten the "pain meds for recreation" thing. Maybe they just don't affect me like they affect other people? I mean, I suppose they would if I took more of them. Anyway, I'm more of a weed and shrooms gal, myself.

whizz_dumb

@fondue with cheddar I broke my elbow last year and I was prescribed the stronger percocets, they made me feel great. Now I want one because my arm is sore from pitching.

area@twitter

@cupcakecore@twitter I'm on the "stress-eating because of a major work deadline" diet. I'm not losing any weight, but this croissant is delicious.

does it need saying

@cupcakecore@twitter

fondue with cheddar

@whizz_dumb Ouch! That sounds like a pretty painful thing to break. And probably the kind of injury that never completely heals.

stuffisthings

You guys, you can't just focus on the Mediterranean diet without including some Mediterranean exercise -- like savagely beating fans of rival soccer teams for example.

all the kittens in the club gettin nipsy

@stuffisthings also: 5th floor walkups, extra-marital affairs.

wee_ramekin

@all the kittens in the club gettin nipsy Don't forget talking with your hands!

Miss Maszkerádi

@wee_ramekin Walking uphill all the time because the damn Italians never figured out to build cities in valleys instead of ON TOP OF MOUNTAINS.

cosmia

As an Italian Person, I appreciate this, but would also really appreciate a scientific study that finally convinced my family that a dinner of lasagna, risotto and garlic bread is not a balanced meal.

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