It’s no surprise that mediterranean diets are healthy—countless studies and articles tout the near magical wonders of following the olive oil and vegetable-heavy plan. However, new research shows that a certain group of Greeks are enjoying long, healthy lives—and it has nothing to do with their diets.

Read: Dairy Isn't Deadly: New Study Says Diets High In Milk Products Don't Cause Heart Disease

In a genetic sequencing project, researchers in Europe found that people living in Crete, Greek’s largest island, have a variant that offers protection against LDL, or bad, cholesterol. In the paper, published in scientific journal Nature, the team explains this modification is only seen in Tuscany, Italy (as discovered in previous research). Another variation of the same gene is found in the Amish population, based on prior research.

“This gives us an increased understanding of the biological processes behind the regulation of cholesterol levels in the blood that we know are bad for you,” study co-author Dr. Eleftheria Zeggini explained in the Independent. “We found these rare [gene] variants are associated with protection against cardiovascular disease. These variants are very rare.”

The team hopes that this could help spur new research and develop heart disease treatments, though the doctor explains to the paper that this is just the beginning of a long process.

Of course, it’s hard not to hope that doctors could use this research to help us eat all the pizza, donuts and cake we want, without any consequences. However, Zeggini tells the Independent, that’s unlikely to happen.

“This is not a licence to eat and drink as much as one likes because cardiovascular disease is a combination of environmental and genetic factors,” she says. “It’s less a matter of prevention and more of treatment.”

Outside of this gene variant discovery, past research has shown that genetics does play a part in high cholesterol and heart disease risk. According to Everyday Health, inherited high cholesterol, known as familial hypercholesterolemia, is actually fairly common. In an article speaking with Dr. James Underberg, MD , from the NYU Center for Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease about the condition, they reported that it affects about 1 in 400 people. While that may not seem overwhelmingly large, Underberg points out that it is actually significant. Plus, it gets far less coverage than other common genetic diseases which aren’t as prevalent.

Read: Binge Eating Linked To Activating Neurons In Specific Brain Area In Mice

Underberg explains that the diagnosis rate in America is fairly low, mostly due to education. The doctor says that for most cases, a mutation in the LDL-receptor gene is present with those who have inherited high cholesterol. Their bodies are unable to get rid of the substance, causing the liver to make more, which in turn makes it difficult to lower cholesterol levels. As with all cases of high cholesterol, Underberg advises a low-fat diet, plenty of exercise, and the aide of medications, if needed.

See Also:

Strokes, The Fifth Leading Cause Of Death, Are Mostly Preventable; What To Do

Low Resting Heart Rates Linked To Social Media Stalking Habits In Men​