A recent study found that the Mediterranean diet may help you lose weight faster than a low-fat approach. The finding is surprising because the Mediterranean diet is rich in fats.
But researchers explained that those fats are healthy fats which benefit the human body the most. For instance, a primary source of fat in Mediterranean diet is the extra-virgin olive oil.
In the study, researchers tracked more than 7,400 participants for five years in a randomized trial. Volunteers were divided into three groups. One of the groups ate only a Mediterranean diet based on olive oil, a second group was placed on a Mediterranean diet based on nuts, while a third group was placed on a low-fat diet.
After five years, researchers found that the Mediterranean diet helped participants lose weight with more success than the low-fat program. The results were consistent even in people diagnosed with diabetes, or in older or overweight participants.
The Mediterranean diet is healthier because it heavily relies on fruit, vegetables, legumes, healthy nuts, and seafood. Most of the food is processed in olive oil, while butter, red meat, sugar and processed foods are strictly prohibited.
If you cannot renounce meat, you are allowed to eat poultry and lean meat.
Researchers reported that 90 percent of the participants were either obese or overweight when they enrolled in the study. Plus, most of them had been either diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure or high levels of bad cholesterol. Plus, many of them smoked despite their conditions.
During the trial, participants were counseled on healthy dieting. None of the participants was asked to exercise more.
After five years, all participants lost some weight. But people on the olive oil-based Mediterranean diet fared better. Yet both groups on Mediterranean diet shed more pounds that the low-fat group. The first group lost 2 pounds on average while the last group lost 1.3 pounds.
Waist size increased for all participants after the trial but the low-fat group experienced the highest increase.
Study authors concluded that the fats in a Mediterranean diet regardless of their origin – vegetable oils, dairy, nuts, fatty fish – lead to better health outcomes in the long run than no fats at all.
So, the decade-old recommendations that cutting all fat from diet is the best solution to stay healthy and lose weight are not that accurate, researchers believe.
The study was published Jun 7 in Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
Image Source: Pixabay