Researchers followed nearly 800 U.S. firefighters, asking how closely they followed a Mediterranean-style diet. They gathered information about weight changes over the previous five years, and collected data on cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
They compared the firefighters who followed a Mediterranean-style diet the closest with those who followed it the least closely, separating the men into four groups.
The more closely the men stuck to the diet, the lower their risk of developing some key markers for potential heart trouble, said Dr. Stefanos Kales, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health.
Those who adhered most strongly to the diet had a 35 percent lower risk of being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome compared to the group that adhered the least. Metabolic syndrome is a group of factors that increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Those risk factors include having a large waist, high levels of triglycerides, low levels of “good” cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels.
Those who adhered most closely to the Mediterranean diet also had a 43 percent lower risk of weight gain compared to those who adhered the least closely.
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