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The seven countries studyThe seven countries study

The Cretan diet abounds in vegetables, fruits, legumes, cereals, small amounts of red meat, and dairy products.  With the only source of fat coming from olive oil the Cretan diet is the model of wholesome nutrition, a diet which, when adopted as a way of life, ensures health and longevity.

The background…

Based on the low rate of mortality and cardiovascular disease that the inhabitants of Crete showed in the early 1960’s, American scientist Ancel Keys and his collaborators began a study whose goal was to probe into the dietary habits of individuals from seven, different countries (Greece, Italy, Yugoslavia, the Netherlands, Finland, U.S.A., and Japan).  That study became known as the Seven Countries Study and its ultimate goal was to investigate the relationship between diet and the appearance of cardiovascular disease, a relationship which, up to that point, was vague at best. The comparisons between and among the sampled populations revealed that the sampled population in Crete was the picture of health and presented the smallest percentages of mortality due to coronary disease and cancer when compared to the population samples from other countries.  The study’s 20-year follow-up showed that the Cretans showed the smallest incidence in deaths from all causes examined, while the study’s 25-year follow-up revealed that coronary deaths in Crete were far fewer than those observed in the U.S.A. and Northern Europe sampled populations.

The conclusion…

In trying to arrive at the secret, scientists were led to the conclusion that the reason behind that phenomenon was mainly the simple and austere fare the people of Crete lived on, a diet whose main feature was and is olive oil as its main source of fats.