Who says DNA is destiny?

Your genes can have a lot to do with whether or not you develop certain chronic diseases. And one gene in particular–TCF7L2–can cause problems. In fact, if you have certain variations of this gene, you are more likely to develop Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

But who says DNA is destiny?

In a new study, researchers discovered that there’s something stronger than your DNA when it comes to your health.

Turns out that men and women who follow a Mediterranean Diet (MedDiet) can significantly reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease. Even if they carry the high-risk TCF7L2 gene variant. (A MedDiet focuses on eating fish, nuts, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. It also uses healthy fats, such as olive oil.)

For this analysis, researchers looked at data for 8,018 older men and women. They were all enrolled in a well-known Spanish study known as PREDIMED. This on-going study focuses primarily on cardiovascular disease prevention. And previous results from the study showed that following the MedDiet helped:

1. Reduce carotid artery plaque

2. Improve cognitive function

3. Reduce heart disease by about half

4. Cut new cases of Type II diabetes by 50 percent

For the study’s latest phase, researchers looked specifically at men and women who carry two variants of the TCF7L2 gene. Researchers wanted to see if following the MedDiet would help them too.

So they divided the participants into three groups. The first group followed a MedDiet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil. The second group followed the MedDiet supplemented with mixed nuts (also good sources of healthy oils). The third group followed a “low-fat” diet.

The researchers found that men and women who followed the “low-fat” diet actually increased their stroke risk by 300 percent! And this makes sense. Despite what the U.S. government’s “health” experts tell you.

On the other hand, all the men and women who followed the MedDiet reduced their stroke risk. And it didn’t matter whether they supplemented with extra olive oil or with mixed nuts.

Remember–these men and women had strong genetic risk factors. But they completely overcame these genetic risks by following the MedDiet. And it put them on an even playing field with men and women who had “normal” genes.

So go ahead and enjoy your delicious Mediterranean diet filled with healthy fats. It will help you reduce your cardiovascular disease risk. Even if you have strong genetic risk factors.

Forget the nonsense about “high-fat” or “low-fat.” And concentrate on getting the right fats in the right amounts. Later this month, I’ll tell you more about the different dietary fats. I’ll tell you which ones to seek, in the right amounts. And which ones to avoid altogether.

Bon appetite!


1. “Mediterranean Diet Reduces the Adverse Effect of the TCF7L2-rs7903146 Polymorphism on Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Stroke Incidence: A randomized controlled trial in a high-cardiovascular-risk population,” Diabetes Care 2013 August 13; published online ahead of print.