Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet is Associated with Improved Cholesterol Ratios in Spanish Adults

The Mediterranean diet is frequently touted as having many heart healthy benefits to those who stick to it. Specifically, research has

Photo By Bill Branson (Photographer) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo By Bill Branson (Photographer) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
shown that adherence to the Mediterranean diet improves lipid profiles, including increased “good” cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) and reduced “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol), reduced triglycerides, and reduced total cholesterol.

A new study in the journal Revista Española de Cardiología aimed to add more evidence to the growing pile by exploring the dietary patterns of Spanish adults and associations with their plasma lipid profiles.

A total of 1290 Spanish adults were included in this study. Diet and exercise patterns were determined by self-reported questionnaires. Previous hospitalizations and family disease history were also collected.

Blood and urine samples were collected and analyzed for: fasting serum glucose, total glucose, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, fasting serum insulin, and whole blood glycated hemoglobin.

Important Findings:

  • Greater adherence to a Western-style diet (more red meats, sweets, fast-food, etc.) was associated with the lowest levels of “good” cholesterol, and the highest levels of “bad” cholesterol.
  • Greater adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet (more veggies, fish, nuts, olive oil, etc) was associated with higher levels of “good” cholesterol, and a lower ratio of triglycerides to “good” cholesterol.

The results of this study add to the growing mountain of evidence

Photo by Flickr user  ebruli (
Photo by Flickr user ebruli (

supporting the benefits of the Mediterranean diet on heart health. According to these results, Spanish adults with good adherence to the Mediterranean diet had better plasma lipid profiles than those sticking to a Western-style diet. Specifically, those eating a Mediterranean diet had greater levels of “good” cholesterol compared with those eating a Western-style diet.


Peñalvo, J.L., Oliva, B., Sotos-Prieto, M., Uzhova, I., Moreno-Franco, B., León-Latre, M., and Ordovás, J.M. 2015. Greater Adherence to a Mediterranean Dietary Pattern Is Associated With Improved Plasma Lipid Profile: the Aragon Health Workers Study Cohort. Revista Española de Cardiología: