NEJM Researchers Retract Study on Mediterranean Diet to Edit the Conclusion

Fresh fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and bread on a kitchen table

It turns out following a Mediterranean diet doesn’t necessarily ensure a good heart health.


Everyone associates the Mediterranean diet with great health, as people who consume fruits, vegetables, nuts, and olive oil tend to feel a lot better. A 2013 study brought proof these foods were associated with lower risks of cardiac events. However, the scientists who developed it have just retracted this study, saying their methods of research contained some errors.


Scientists Retracted the Study to Perform Some Edits


In 2013, researchers published a study on the Mediterranean diet in New England Journal of Medicine. There, they compared a diet rich in olive oil with a low-fat diet and found 30 percent fewer chances of cardiovascular diseases for the first group. The same happened with a diet rich in nuts, but the chances were 28 percent lower.

However, this proof seemed not to be solid enough. This week, researchers retracted this paper because of the methods they used. Apparently, they had formulated a conclusion that was a bit too strong, so the paper needed changes.

The initial version claimed the Mediterranean diet was the direct cause of reduced cardiovascular risks. Researchers revised this conclusion and said they only observed fewer cardiac incidents in people who followed this diet.


The Randomized Trial of the Study Wasn’t Properly Conducted


In other words, a Mediterranean diet won’t protect you from cardiovascular disease. It can offer you some benefits, but it can’t be the direct cause of good heart health. However, people shouldn’t feel discouraged about this edit. Even if they changed the paper, researchers are still confident in the advantages of a Mediterranean diet.

The one who came up with the editing idea was John Carlisle, a renowned anesthesiologist from the UK. He started by reviewing randomized trials performed by a specific researcher and then decided to expand his scope on other trials.

For the Mediterranean diet study, participants had to be assigned to two eating groups: Mediterranean and low fat. According to Dr. Carlisle’s method, some people weren’t adequately assigned to groups. Even if it was a small part of the trial, this still affected the final results. Therefore, researchers decided to retract the study and make the necessary edits.


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