Atlantic diet could rival Mediterranean diet – lower cholesterol among benefits

The Mediterranean diet has long reigned as the world’s healthiest eating plan. However, new research, published in JAMA Network Open, suggests that a different diet could be especially potent.

The research team indicated that an eating regimen, known as the Atlantic diet, could halve your risk of metabolic syndrome, a group of health problems that lay the dangerous groundwork for type 2 diabetes and conditions that affect your heart or blood vessels.

Derived from Spain and Portugal, the Atlantic diet is similar to the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets, which stress the importance of eating minimally processed foods, including whole grains, fish, and healthy fats like olive oil.

However, the key difference is its emphasis on stewed, boiled, baked, and grilled foods as well as focusing on eating seasonal, locally grown foods that you may find at your local farmer’s market.

Working with 231 families of Spanish ethnicity and Caucasian descent, including 518 adults between the ages of 18 to 85, the research team divided the participants into two groups.

Around 121 families followed the Atlantic diet, while 110 families stuck to their normal foods.

Roughly 450 participants didn’t have metabolic syndrome at the beginning of the study, but 117 of the patients already had developed this group of health problems.

At the start of the study and at the six-month mark, the researchers collected information about the participants’ diet, physical activity, and medication, using a food diary.

The findings revealed that those who adhered to the Atlantic diet “significantly” reduced the incidence of metabolic syndrome.

Only three percent of participants following the dietary plan developed the group of health problems, compared to six percent in the other group.

The researchers also found that those on the Atlantic diet saw improvements in their waist circumference, weight, and cholesterol. However, blood pressure, triglyceride levels, and blood sugar levels stayed the same.

The research team explained that this suggests the Atlantic diet mainly benefitted those who had not yet developed metabolic syndrome. However, they also noted that longer-term research is currently needed.