To anyone that says, "A randomized controlled trial in nutrition is impossible!" I can now say, "You just don’t want it badly enough."
As you are already probably aware, the Mediterranean diet is one of the diets that started it all. Its rules are relatively simple: lots of olive oil, lots of fruits and nuts, lots of vegetables and cereals, and some fish and chicken, and not a lot of dairy, red meat, processed meats, and sweets and some wine (And while Greece is part of Mediterranean, Greek yoghurt does not seem to feature prominently in this diet–so think on that a bit…)
The Mediterranean diet has been studied a lot. One could argue that of all the diets that have gone though fad phases, including the Atkin’s diet, the Mediterranean diet has been studied the most. In particular, its effects on preventing cardiovascular events (stroke, heart attacks and death from either) has been of particular interest. There have been major cohort studies, but never a randomized controlled trial.
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Before I even start explaining what I’ve done here, I want to make it absolutely clear that this analysis is fairly casual, and that by no means have I followed a text-book rigourous protocol to do it because if I HAD done that, you wouldn’t be reading this for another year while it waited in the publication queue of some nutrition journal. However, I will say that even with that disclaimer, I’ve probably been a bit more rigourous than a lot of crap I’ve read, so…well, there really isn’t anything more to say, is there?
Back in the early 2000’s there was a small surge of medium-chain-triglyercide (MCT) research that petered out around 2003ish. While there were a fair number of human trials looking at MCT’s and lipid profiles, there were also a handful of trials that also examined the effect of MCTs on body composition, specifically fat loss. And while MCTs are used in some supplements and meal-replacement shakes, there hasn’t been a widespread adoption of MCTs like there was when olive oil got really big (also in the early 2000’s), and I have to say that it’s not entirely clear as to why. Part of the reason might have been the sparseness of human trials involving MCTs compared to those looking at olive oil. Since 2009, however, there appears to be another blip of human trials looking at MCTs, and specifically at coconut oil, or mixes that involve a fair amount of coconut oil.
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