Study says Mediterranean diet aids weight loss more than low-fat diet

A high-fat Mediterranean diet results in greater weight loss than a low-fat diet does, according to new research from Spain.
However, it doesn’t mean heavily processed food such as junk food should be eaten, as the study refers to healthy fats.
Between 2003-2010, a total of 7,447 participants from 11 Spanish hospitals, all of whom were between the ages of 55 and 80 years, and had type 2 diabetes or high cardiovascular risk. More than 90 per cent of the participants were obese or overweight, increasing their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Each person was randomly placed in one of three groups. One group followed a low-fat diet, which avoided all dietary fat. Another group followed an unrestricted-calorie Mediterranean diet, which was rich in nuts. Finally, the last group followed an unrestricted-calorie Mediterranean diet, which was rich in olive oil.
Each participant followed their chosen diet properly, receiving advice from trained dieticians throughout.
After five years, it was found that all groups lost weight, although not substantially. The group following a Mediterranean diet with extra olive oil lost the most weight, 0.88kg, which was more than the 0.60kg lost by the low-fat diet group.
Waist circumference increased in each of the groups (which is common as people get older), but it increased the most in the group following a low-fat diet.
In a linked editorial, Professor Dariush Mozaffarian, of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, said: “Dietary guidelines should be revised to lay to rest the outdated, arbitrary limits on total fat consumption.
“Calorie-obsessed caveats and warnings about healthier, higher-fat choices such as nuts, phenolic-rich vegetable oils, yoghurt, and even perhaps cheese, should also be dropped. We must abandon the myth that lower-fat, lower-calorie products lead to less weight gain.
“Rather, modern scientific evidence supports an emphasis on eating more calories from fruits, nuts, vegetables, beans, fish, yoghurt, phenolic-rich vegetable oils, and minimally processed whole grains; and fewer calories from highly processed foods rich in starch, sugar, salt, or trans-fat.”
The research was published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal.

Related Articles