According to the new study, the Mediterranean diet is only successful if the people are highly educated and earn more than the average income. Although it is generally suggested that a healthy diet should contain a lot of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, various nuts and olive oil, it seems that it is not so much the ingredient as it is the quality of the food which is important.
These conclusions are from a study that set out to analyze the impact the recommended diet has in the reduction of risk of heart disease over four year period.
What the research found out was that the families who had an above average income were the only ones who actually had any significant benefits from the recommended diet plan. This was rather surprising to the scientists conducting the study after which they speculated that the reason might be that the wealthier families are able to afford better quality ingredients which were richer in important nutrients and antioxidants.
Dr Marialaura Bonaccio, a researcher at the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention at the Neurological Mediterranean Institute (Neuromed) commented on this by saying: “The cardiovascular benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet in a general population are well known, yet for the first time our study has revealed that the socioeconomic position is able to modulate the health advantages linked to Mediterranean diet.
In other words, a person from low socioeconomic status is unlikely to get the same advantages of a person with higher income, despite the fact that they both similarly adhere to the same healthy diet. These substantial differences in consuming products belonging to Mediterranean diet lead us to think that quality of foods may be as important for health as quantity and frequency of intake”.
Dr Giovanni de Gaetano, director of the Department at Neuromed also made an observation on this interesting finding: “During the very last years, we documented a rapid shifting from the Mediterranean diet in the whole population, but it might also be that the weakest citizens tend to buy ‘Mediterranean’ food with lower nutritional value.”