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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The highly touted benefits of the Mediterranean diet may not reach everyone, according to a new study.

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The health benefits to the heart are well-documented when it comes to studies about the diet which emphasizes vegetables, nuts, fruits, fish and grains with a limit on red meat and replacing butter with olive oil.

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Now Italian researchers say those benefits are limited to people with higher income and education levels or some combination of the two – in other words, “higher socioeconomic groups.”

In turn, those in low-income groups don’t see the same benefits when it comes to reducing their risk of cardiovascular disease.

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The study, published this week in the International Journal of Epidemiology, studied 24,325 men and women randomly recruited from parts of southern Italy from March 2005 to April 2010.