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In the early 1960s, a scientist named Ancel Keys was puzzling over a question:

Why were rich, middle-aged businessmen in Minnesota more likely to die of heart disease than poor villagers in Italy?

Up to this point, most scientists considered heart disease to be part and parcel of the aging process—a result of your decaying DNA rather than your diet or exercise habits.

But then there were these remote villages in Southern Italy that had the highest rates of centenarians in the world and some of the lowest rates of heart disease, despite being populated with people genetically similar to American men.

Data like this convinced Keys that heart disease might be preventable, and was bolstered by other findings.

For instance, Keys discovered that in food-starved regions of post-war Europe, cardiovascular disease dropped along with the food supply, implying a connection between the two seemingly unrelated circumstances.

As the evidence mounted, Keys became more convinced that diet was a key factor in the risk of heart disease, and to test his hypothesis, he conducted an enormous study—one that would become his magnum opus.

The short story is that the Mediterranean diet is popular among scientists, doctors, and the average dieter for a reason: it’s a perfectly healthy way to eat.

That said, it’s not for everyone and not the only way to eat well.

Let’s find out why.

Time Stamps:

7:28 – What is the Mediterranean diet? 

12:08 – Why is the Mediterranean diet popular? 

12:50 – Can the Mediterranean diet prevent heart disease? 

26:22 – Can you get the health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet while still eating red meat, dairy, and poultry? 

29:15 – Can the Mediterranean diet prevent type 2 diabetes? 

34:32 – Does the Mediterranean diet help you lose weight?

38:59 – Can the Mediterranean diet help you live longer? 

Mentioned on The Show:

Books by Mike Mattews

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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