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Canadian Hospital to launch Mediterranean Diet course

newsletter 24FEB2015St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, Canada, is making plans to train hundreds, if not thousands, of people to eat according to the principles of the life-saving Mediterranean Diet.

"Truly changing the way you eat is a massive undertaking," said physician Andrew Ignaszewski, who is head of cardiology at the hospital. "For people with a northern European or Eastern European pedigree, the Mediterranean Diet does not come naturally, the specifics are not intuitive and need to be taught."
Buoyed by the stunning results of a rare long-term diet study conducted with almost 8,000 subjects in Spain, Ignaszewski and his colleagues felt they could help more than just their cardiac patients. "There are 10 times more people at risk of cardiovascular disease than people who have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease," said Ignaszewski.

The study, published by the New England Journal of Medicine, placed healthy people at risk of cardiac disease into three groups: a simple low-fat diet, a relatively high-fat Mediterranean diet supplemented with large amounts of extra virgin olive oil, and a Mediterranean diet supplemented with large amounts of walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts. Over five years, the two Mediterranean diet groups had a 30-per-cent lower chance of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular disease than people on the low-fat diet.

Training people how to eat differently requires a long-term intervention, which is what the new course at St. Paul's is designed to do.
It is not enough to tell people to eat more fish and legumes, olive oil and nuts. For every new food that is added, other foods must be eliminated, Ignaszewski said.
"You need to learn what to eat, day by day, three meals a day," he said. "For the study subjects in Spain it was relatively easy, many of these things were already part of their diet, in North America it will be much tougher."

You can read the full article published in The Vancouver Sun here.

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