Researchers after the Second World War found themselves wondering about a very interesting fact. In Italy and Greece, it was known that deaths due to coronary disease were in much lower occurrence rates than in other countries, such as the USA and countries in northern Europe. Two researchers ended up to the conclusion that the main factor, which contributed to this low death rate was the ‘Mediterranean diet'.
This lead to further
research, called the 7 countries study, which was conducted in 1950. More than
15.000 people were examined aged between 40 and 59 and the study lasted more
than 15 years. This study provided evidence that the average consumption of
saturated fat and cholesterol is directly connected to deaths due to coronary
disease. This saturated fat consumption in Mediterranean countries was a lot
less than that in N. Europe and the USA.
The advantages of Mediterranean diet have been proved by a lot of research. These advantages include:
Olive oil is the main ingredient of the Mediterranean diet. Compared to other types of fat such as margarines and butter, it has been proved that olive oil is by far the healthiest.
In 2004, the food and drug administration of the united states in its attempt to educate people about healthy eating habits allowed producers of olive oil to use the following inscription on their labels: "Limited and non conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about two tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil. To achieve this possible benefit, olive oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day."
This fact shows how important it has become for countries to educate people about the benefits of a healthy diet such as the Mediterranean. Therefore, there is a worldwide trend to promote olive oil for health reasons.
It must be noted that the benefits in health can be achieved by consuming exclusively extra virgin olive oil (top quality olive oil that has been bottled as it comes from nature without industrial refining).