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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I’m sitting at Equinox on 44th Street (Thanks, Equinox for letting me work out at another gym other than my own in this mess!) writing this because I have to wait another hour for everything I own to be recharged (thanks, Sandy). However, it’s amazing what pops into one’s head in silence, darkness and no Internetz. Unfortunately, it also means no actual study review, since I can’t seem to reliably get online (that, and I’m feeling a bit lazy, so someone send me a link, eh?)
In case, you haven’t figured it out, my life in on hold while they try to restore power to my area of Manhattan. One of the hospitals I work at has actually evacuated all the patients, and the other main one I work at is running on emergency power only (no labs, no computers, minimal lights).
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This WOULD be a catastrophe. This week, I was asked to write a commentary for Fitocracy on what has now become known as the “Red Meat Will Kill You” Study. The fallout in the blogosphere has been pretty dramatic (and by dramatic, I mean drama-filled and theatrical). There have been a few well-written, thoughtful commentaries, but by far, the bulk of criticism has been the general “correlation, not causation” crowd. While I think this is, by and large, a HYUGE step forward in general research literacy, it also makes me wonder if it’s just another sign of polarized, blinded thinking.
There is a fundamental difficulty with measuring long-term outcomes that are distantly removed from single-point events, and continuous repeated exposures. The three mainstream ways to get at the question of, “Does X make you live longer/shorter?” are:
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