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Mediterranean diet cuts premature death risk

By David Liu

Sunday July 18, 2009 (foodconsumer.org) -- People who eat a Mediterranean type of diet characterized by high amounts of vegetables, fruits and nuts, olive oil, and legumes may live a longer life, a new study in the British Medical Journal suggests.

The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) showed that moderate alcohol consumption and low meat intake were linked to low death risk while cereals and dairy products were not.

For the study, Antonia Trichopoulou and colleagues from the University of Athens and Harvard School of public Health followed 23,000 healthy men aged 20 to 86 in Greece for an average of 8.5 years.

During the follow-up, 652 deaths were recorded in the men whose diets were less similar to the Mediterranean diet while 423 deaths were documented in those whose diets were more similar to the Mediterranean diet.