OK, I didn’t need another study to tell me this, although there have been plenty of studies that show that the Mediterranean diet even though high in fat, is good for the heart. According to Canadian researchers of this new study “A single junk food meal – composed mainly of saturated fat – is detrimental to the health of the arteries, while no damage occurs after consuming a Mediterranean meal rich in good fats such as mono-and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The Mediterranean meal may even have a positive effect on the arteries.” Well yes of course.

The researchers from the University of Montreal-affiliated ÉPIC Center of the Montreal Heart Institute basically gave 28 men who didn’t smoke a Mediterranean style meal: fatty fish, vegetables cooked in olive oil and almonds with 51% of the calories coming from fat (mostly good monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat) and then a week later a junk food meal with bacon, eggs, sausages with 58% of the calories coming mainly from saturated fats. Afterwards the men underwent some tests and they saw that after the junk food meal their arteries dilated 24% less than normal, whereas after the Mediterranean meal their arteries were dilating normally and had good blood flow.The researchers noted that poor endothelial function is one of the most significant precursors of atherosclerosis.

The lesson to be learned here is that not all fats are the same. Yes, all fats have the same calories but they affect our body in very different ways.

So, next time you are trying to follow a Mediterranean style diet and are cutting back on the good fat, thinking that you only need vegetables, fruit and fiber, remember this study. Good fat is your friend.

Photo: Cretan Dishes by Students of IEK Chanion & OAED Tavrinioti and Chefs Giorgos Makris & Antonios Koklas

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  1. Does that mean that I am having too much olive oil each day? or by minimally do you mean that I can have more than 3 tablespoons. I hope that it is the latter because I so enjoy using olive oil in my meals.

    1. Hi Mary, on her other page, “Eat Like Greek? Greek Dietary Guidelines – A Better Choice,” she says the Greek Dietary Guidelines recommend 4-5 Tablespoons a day, so by minimally, she means a minimum of, so you should be okay 🙂

  2. He Elena,

    Can you tell me how much olive oil I need everyday please?

    Articles I read state that you need at least 2-3 tablespoons every day.

    In my everyday eating I have at least 3 tablespoons in my Greek salad as well as the olive oil I add to my main meal when cooking and then on the salad I have with the main meal.

    Your input would be really helpful.

    Thanks Elena.