Latest scientific news 19 November 2018

Moderate wine consumption identified as one of the protective components in the Mediterranean Diet

This meta-analysis examined the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) of all published prospective studies, evaluated the relative contribution of individual components of this diet and how they relate to longevity or all-cause mortality. The results confirm an inverse association of the MedDiet and mortality, meaning that those individuals adhering the most to a MedDiet lived longer. When it comes to the individual components of the MedDiet, one of the major protective factors was moderate, non-excessive intake of alcoholic beverages –mostly in the form of wine.

The association of the MedDiet with health and longevity has been consistently demonstrated in a large number of observational studies as well as some randomized clinical trials. Comprehensive summaries of these investigations (also known as meta-analyses) have shown a substantial decrease of various chronic diseases as well as a lower mortality risk among those with a higher adherence to the MedDiet.

The current meta-analysis provided an update of prospective studies (published up to December 2017) to quantify the relation of the MedDiet with all-cause mortality and evaluated the relative contribution of the individual components. The Greek researchers found that those individuals adhering the most to a MedDiet significantly lived longer (inverse association between MedDiet conformity and all-cause mortality). When the contribution of the individual components to the overall association of the MedDiet with mortality/longevity were analysed, moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages – mostly in the form of wine – was besides fruit and vegetables the most protective factor in the MedDiet.

The authors concluded that even though the survival benefits of the MedDiet are important from a holistic and public health point of view, it is also important to understand which components most influence the protective role of this diet and so promote the MedDiet as a healthy eating pattern.

Eleftheriou D, Tricholpoulou A et al, Mediterranean diet and its components in relation to all-cause mortality: meta-analysis, Br J Nutr (2018), 120, 1081-1097, doi:10.1017/S0007114518002593

For more information about this article, read the scientific abstract here.