A new study says that the Mediterranean diet works better for those with higher incomes
Chew on this.
Does the amount of money you make determine how much weight you can lose? According to a study by a group of Italian scientists at Italy’s Instituto Neurologico Mediterraneo Neuromed I.R.C.C.S., the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease—but only if you’re rich or highly educated.
Based on typical foods and recipes of Mediterranean-style cooking, the Mediterranean diet has been associated with lowering cholesterol and therefore reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. According to the Mayo Clinic, the key components of the diet include eating primarily plant-based foods like fruit, vegetables, pasta, rice, nuts, olive oil, herbs, spices, red wine and engaging in exercise.
The study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology followed the diets and socioeconomic backgrounds of more than 18,000 people—and revealed that over 4.3 years, the diet reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 15%, but only for people who made more than $46,000 per year.
Beverly Hills-based registered dietician Ashley Koff tells Moneyish, “In this country, we have access to a lot of processed and altered foods so I work with a lot of patients to improve the quality of what they’re eating. It’s easier to find poor quality food even if healthy food is available at an affordable price.”
Sam Polk, co-founder and CEO of Everytable, a healthy grab-and-go restaurant concept tells Moneyish, “The fundamentals of the Mediterranean diet are unavailable to certain communities called food deserts, where there’s little access to produce and fresh foods.” These underserved areas are often saturated with fast food options—leading those with lower incomes to eat food with less nutritional value.
Everytable’s first location descended upon South Los Angeles in 2016, where the per capita income is $13,000. “High rates of obesity, diabetes and other food-related consequences are prevalent in that area and a child living there has a shorter life expectancy by 12 years than a kid living in Los Angeles’ Bel Air neighborhood,” says Polk.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Americans eat less than the recommended amounts of vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, dairy products and oils. This is likely due to the fact that the number of fast food restaurants in the country has more than doubled since 1970.
“Someone on food stamps can’t use those stamps to order wild salmon online from Alaska—they might have to take two buses to a supermarket to buy a lesser quality fish. If someone has access to better quality food, they often do beautifully on the diet,” says Koff.
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