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Med diet easiest to stick to – study

The Mediterranean diet is one of the easiest diets to stick to and can improve blood sugar and blood pressure levels, according to a new study.

A University of Otago weight-loss trial, published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, compared Mediterranean, Paleo and intermittent fasting diets for adherence, weight loss and health improvements.

The study had 250 overweight participants who were able to choose one of the three diet options.

Study participants who chose the Med diet had higher levels of adherence at 12 months into the trial (57 per cent) than fasting (54 per cent) and Paleo (35 per cent).

By the 12-month mark, there was ‘substantial dropout’, according to the research abstract.

The Mediterranean diet encourages consumption of plenty of fruit, vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals, legumes, nuts, seeds and olive oil with moderate amounts of fish, chicken, eggs and dairy and red meat once a week or less.

Average weight loss for the diets was modest (two to four kilograms) but fasting and the Med diet showed ‘clinically significant improvements in blood pressure’, co-lead author Melyssa Roy says in a press release.

Blood sugar levels also reduced in participants on the Med diet.

The study was small and was exploratory rather than intending to offer conclusive findings, so more investigation is needed, but Healthy Food Guide recommends a Mediterranean eating style based on the body of evidence that it protects against chronic disease, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

The researchers say the trial shows there is no one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss and it’s best for people to choose the eating pattern that works for them.

Article sources and references

Date modified: 30 January 2020
First published: Jan 2020


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