High-Fat Mediterranean Diet Might Cut Risk for CV Events, Breast Cancer, and Diabetes

By Amy Orciari Herman

Edited by Jaye Elizabeth Hefner, MD

A Mediterranean diet with unlimited fat intake might lower the risk for cardiovascular events, breast cancer, and diabetes, according to a systematic review in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The authors, however, emphasize that the strength of the evidence was low for many outcomes.

The analysis included 56 controlled or cohort studies in which a Mediterranean diet with unrestricted fat intake was compared with any other diet. Among the findings:

  • In one randomized trial, a Mediterranean diet was associated with a 29% reduction in risk for CV events, 57% reduction in breast cancer risk, and 30% reduction in diabetes risk.

  • In two randomized trials, there was no association between a Mediterranean diet and all-cause mortality.

  • Pooled data from cohort studies suggested a link between high adherence to a Mediterranean diet and reduced risk for total and lung cancer, but no association with breast cancer