Mediterranean Diet and Cardiovascular Disease: Historical Perspective and Latest Evidence
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- de Lorgeril, M. Curr Atheroscler Rep (2013) 15: 370. doi:10.1007/s11883-013-0370-4
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The concept that the Mediterranean diet was associated with a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) was first proposed in the 1950s. Since then, there have been randomized controlled trials and large epidemiological studies that reported associations with lower CVD: in 1994 and 1999, the reports of the intermediate and final analyses of the trial Lyon Diet Heart Study; in 2003, a major epidemiological study in Greece showing a strong inverse association between a Mediterranean score and the risk of cardiovascular complications; in 2011–2012, several reports showing that even non-Mediterranean populations can gain benefits from long-term adhesion to the Mediterranean diet; and in 2013, the PREDIMED trial showing a significant risk reduction in a low-risk population. Contrary to the pharmacological approach of cardiovascular prevention, the adoption of the Mediterranean diet has been associated with a significant reduction in new cancers and overall mortality. Thus, in terms of evidence-based medicine, the full adoption of a modern version of the Mediterranean diet pattern can be considered one of the most effective approaches for the prevention of fatal and nonfatal CVD complications.