The healthy fats in the Mediterranean diet won’t cause weight gain, according to a study from the University of Barcelona in Spain. More than 7,400 overweight women and men between the ages of 55- and 80-years-old who had type 2 diabetes or high heart disease risk followed one of three plans: 1) an unrestricted-calorie Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, 2) an unrestricted-calorie Mediterranean diet rich in nuts, or 3) a low-fat diet. After five years, total fat intake fell from 40% to 37% in the low-fat diet group and rose in both the Mediterranean diet groups from 40% to 42%. Protein and carbohydrate intake decreased in the Mediterranean diet groups. Everyone lost weight, averaging about 2 pounds per person in the olive oil group, 1.3 pounds in the low-fat group, and 0.9 pounds in the nuts group. The researchers conclude that, “…a Mediterranean diet rich in vegetable fats such as olive oil and nuts has little effect on body weight or waist circumference compared to people on a low-fat diet. The Mediterranean diet has well-known health benefits and includes healthy fats, such as [olive]oil, fish, and nuts.”
For every 100 people who ate a healthful, Mediterranean-style diet, three fewer heart attacks, strokes, or deaths occurred compared with the same number of people eating a Western-style diet, in a study from the University of Auckland in New Zealand.
Strict adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet reduces the risk of overall cancer mortality and the incidence of cancers of the colorectum, breast, stomach, pancreas, prostate, liver, and head and neck, state researchers at the University of Vienna.
Estruch R, Martinez-Gonzalez M, Corella D, et al: Effect of a high-fat Mediterranean diet on bodyweight and waist circumference. Lancet: Diabetes Endocrinology 2016; June 6th.
Stewart R, Wallentin L, Benatar J, et al: Dietary patterns and the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events in a global study of high-risk patients with stable coronary heart disease. European Heart Journal 2016; April 24th.
Schwingshackl L, Hoffmann G: Does a Mediterranean-type diet reduce cancer risk? Current Nutrition Reports 2016;5:9-17.