The Mediterranean diet originated from the eating patterns of countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, such as Spain, Italy, Greece, France and Turkey. People living in these areas tend to have less susceptibility to chronic diseases, as per an article on Healthline.
The reason the diet leads to weight loss is because the food groups are the focus and not calorie restriction, which leads to more anxiety than anything else. The diet encourages whole foods, whole grains and healthy fats while discouraging meat, calorie-dense foods, refined grains, added sugars and processed foods. Also, an important aspect of the diet are nuts, seeds, legumes as well as fruits and vegetables.
The Mediterranean diet includes plant-based foods in majority of the content, while certain exceptions for poultry, dairy and seafood are to be eaten in moderation. It is also similar with the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommends that alcohol should be limited to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. In order to enjoy the fruits of the diet, routine exercise is necessary.
Research has always supported the notion that the Meditteranean diet aids weight loss. Here are some of the studies that claim such diet works for people attempting to lose weight.
A research published in 2016, which was conducted by the Jewish General Hospital that is affiliated with McGill University in Canada, investigated the potential of the diet to induce weight loss in less than 12 months. To measure the efficacy of the diet on obese or overweight people, a systematic review of five randomized clinical trials was done. They searched the databases of MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library of Clinical Trials for RCTs, with a follow-up period of 12 months to examine the effect of diet on weight loss. Cardiovascular risk factors were checked as well.
About 998 subjects were studied. In the trials, comparisons were made to other diets. However, the Mediterranean diet aided better weight loss results only in comparison with the low-fat diet. Otherwise, the low-carbohydrate diet and American Diabetes Association diet had nearly the same results.
“Moreover, the Mediterranean diet was generally similar to comparator diets at improving other cardiovascular risk factor levels, including blood pressure and lipid levels,” the researchers stated in the study.
“Our findings suggest that the Mediterranean diet results in similar weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor level reduction as comparator diets in overweight or obese individuals trying to lose weight,” the researchers concluded.
Another study conducted by Second University of Naples published in 2011 analyzed 16 randomized controlled trials through a meta-analysis. The participants were assigned to two different groups, with 1,848 subjects assigned to the Mediterranean diet and 1,588 subjects assigned to the control diet.
“Mediterranean diet may be a useful tool to reduce body weight, especially when the Mediterranean diet is energy-restricted, associated with physical activity, and more than 6 months in length. Mediterranean diet does not cause weight gain, which removes the objection to its relatively high fat content. These results may be useful for helping people to lose weight,” the study’s conclusion read.