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The Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Through the Mediterranean Diet

      “The Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Through the Mediterranean Diet” presents dietary habits that will have maximum impact on cardiovascular health and other major chronic diseases. Data collected through the results of large clinical trials, such as PREDIMED, one of the largest trials ever conducted, has allowed researchers to conclude that the Mediterranean Diet provides the best evidence for health benefits.—Publisher
      Interest in the overall health benefit of the Mediterranean diet (MD) remains strong. Type the key words Mediterranean diet into an online book vendor and you are likely to get no fewer than 400 options and often well into the thousands. What is different and would be interesting to nutrition professionals is the comprehensive overview and application of the Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea (Prevention with Mediterranean Diet) PREDIMED, Seguimiento University of Navarra, and other current MD studies in 1 publication.
      The resource is a compendium covering the history and evolution of the MD, including the work of Ansel Keys in the Seven Countries Study through research conducted over the past decade.
      The resource has 12 chapters, beginning with the MD lifestyle and advancing through a logical sequence of epidemiological research on the health benefits of virgin olive oil, nuts, fruits and vegetables, cereals and legumes, fish, and red wine. Later chapters review the benefits of socializing during meals and the effect of diet on the development of dementia. The resource concludes with 30 easily prepared recipes.
      Each chapter contains short topic segments augmented with tables, figures, and/or bulleted recommendations translating research into practice. The information is timely and promotes a cardioprotective whole-foods diet. Chapter references are extensive and beneficial for those wanting to delve deeper into MD research.
      Although the title states Prevention, which alludes to causation, it aligns with study titles of similar nomenclature. Nevertheless, the authors focus primarily on the association between the MD and health outcomes from an epidemiological perspective. The authors acknowledge diet–gene interactions and the as-yet unknown understanding of many food compounds in overall health, including cardiovascular disease.
      The resource is a mix of in-depth chemistry, as in the chapter on dietary fats and research methodology, and descriptions of hazard ratios, odds ratios, and relative risks in the epidemiology chapter. Between is a mixture of study outcomes as written in scientific journals, interspersed with layperson language in the application sections. For these reasons, the layperson would need a level of scientific sophistication for interpretation. Thus, the book may appeal more to nutrition professionals and students who would be best able to translate technical contents into practice.
      Because the chapters have different authors, the style of writing is not cohesive. Some authors inject what appear to be opinions, such as extremely worrying, drastic diets, and unwise decision, which detract from the otherwise scientific nature of the book. At times, the grammar is poor, with the use of serves vs serving of food and no significant vs not significant. Also, sometimes the information is incorrect or confusing; for instance, when expounding the benefits of whole grains, the advice is to “substitute white bread for whole grain bread.” The description “the difference with saturated fats is that unsaturated fats have less hydrogen atoms linked to chain of carbon atoms” could be better defined. Some of the food pyramid figures are in high definition and others appear slightly blurry. Aside from these distractions, the nutrition professional is likely to come away with a renewed interest and understanding of the MD pattern and a pantry filled with pulses (legumes), extra virgin olive oil, nuts, and whole grains.
      Cite this article as Dick L. The Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Through the Mediterranean Diet. [New Resources for Nutrition Educators]. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2018;50:753.