Mediterranean Diet healthful effects and long term weight loss relative to other diets


The Mediterranean diet is a healthy diet that is not necessarily low-fat. It is low in omega-6 fatty acids and high in omega-3 fatty acids (olive oil). The use of herbs and spices in place of salt for seasoning makes the food more flavorful. Combined with 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, one gets plenty of nutrients from the diet.  Red meat is eaten maybe twice a week as is fish, such as mackerel, herring, sardines, and anchovies. Eggs and poultry are eaten frequently but less than in  an American diet. Wine or alcohol is common consumed with food. Mealtimes occur in a social setting with family and friends, which creates an excellent atmosphere. The diet is associated with lower rates of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular disease.

Systematic Review of the Mediterranean Diet for long term weight loss

A recent Review in The American Journal of Medicine (April 2016) as above evaluated MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane libraries for randomized controlled studies of trials showing the effects of a Mediterranean diet with more than 12 months follow-up. Five RCT’s (998=n) were found and evaluated and compared the Mediterranean diet to a low-fat diet, a low carbohydrate diet, and an American Diabetes Association diet.

The Mediterranean diet resulted in a greater weight loss (4 to 10 Kg) when compared to a low-fat diet  (3 to 5 kg loss), but produced similar weight loss at 12 months compared with the other diets.

The Mediterranean diet was found to be similar to the other diets in terms of cardiovascular risk factor levels, including blood pressure and lipid levels as well.

  • The Mediterranean diet has been found to work better than a low-fat diet based on this analysis. It also produced greater improvements in triglyceride levels but similar changes in other lipids and blood pressure. Likewise, the Mediterranean diet was better at improving glycemic (blood-sugar) control in diabetics ( but not non-diabetics).
  • There is no ideal diet for achieving sustained weight loss in overweight or obese individuals.

Long-Term Effects of 4 Popular Diets on Weight Loss and Cardiovascular Risk Factors  << This study reviewed the Atkins, Weight Watchers, and the Zone, and demonstrated that all produced similar weight loss at 12 months and beyond. There is no demonstrable problem with the carbohydrate load in a Mediterranean diet, and the similar weight loss among these diets suggests no optimal macronutrient composition to sustain weight loss.

Mediterranean diet benefits

Weight loss strategies for treatment of obesity. << There needs to be a three step approach to treating obesity and weight loss. First, life-style modification through diet, behavioral therapy, and physical activity need to occur.

Weight loss is increased with the addition of exercise – physical activity and dieting added together give greater increments of weight loss than dieting alone. The references below include links to evidence for this:

Long-term weight loss after diet and exercise a systematic review

Long-term effectiveness of diet-plus-exercise interventions vs. diet-only interventions for weight loss a meta-analysis

The role of exercise and physical activity in weight loss and maintenance.

Exercise Effects on White Adipose Tissue Beiging and Metabolic Adaptations

Exercise-Induced Skeletal Muscle Adaptations Alter the Activity of Adipose Progenitor Cells.

Endurance Exercise Training Up-Regulates Lipolytic proteins and reduces triglycerides in skeletal muscle of obese subjects

Bottom line is that physical activity alone is unlikely to yield significant weight loss unless it is added to a calorie-restricted diet.

After these two components of exercise and low-calorie dieting, one then adds pharmacochotherapies. The final component is bariatric surgery for those who do not achieve goals and are of sufficiently high BMI and comorbidities.

Mediterranean diet pyramid today. Science and cultural updates  << The Mediterranean diet is composed of fruits, vegetables, legumes, cereals, fruits, ad olive oil based food. The origins of the diet were Middle Eastern and ‘biblical’ in their origins: >> The Middle Eastern and biblical origins of the Mediterranean diet

Mediterranean Diet – From a Healthy Diet to a Sustainable Dietary Pattern  < the diet is composed of a tasteful selection of foods designed for a sustainable lifestyle.

Sustainable diets the Mediterranean diet as an example

Natural Resources – Food Nexus Food-Related Environmental Footprints in the Mediterranean Countries << – Soon it will be hard to eat a ‘true’ Mediterranean diet due to environmental changes!

Mediterranean Diet – From a Healthy Diet to a Sustainable Dietary Pattern

Importance of functional foods in the Mediterranean diet <<< Numerous food types play an important role in the Mediterranean diet

Does a Mediterranean-Type Diet Reduce Cancer Risk <<

Nutrition and lifestyle in healthy aging the telomerase challenge << Nutrition that is done correctly may improve our life-spans and quality.

The Mediterranean Diet, its Components, and Cardiovascular disease << there is plenty of evidence demonstrating the decreased cardiovascular disease with the Mediterranean diet (The Seven Countries study)

There is also a decreased risk of breast cancer by following a Mediterranean diet: Mediterranean Diet and Invasive Breast Cancer Risk Among Women at High Cardiovascular Risk in the PREDIMED Trial as well as the metabolic syndrome:  Adherence to Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome a 6-year prospective study.

Certain dietary patterns are beneficial for the metabolic syndrom- reviewing the evidence.

The Mediterranean Lifestyle as a Non-Pharmacological and Natural Antioxidant for Healthy Aging

Anti-inflammatory Dietary Inflammatory Index scores are associated with healthier scores on other dietary indices.

Sticking to the Mediterranean diet decreases the chances of metabolic syndrome by 50% [Adherence to Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome a 6-year prospective study.], decreases mortality over 20 years [ Mediterranean diet and other lifestyle factors in relation to 20-year all-cause mortality a cohort study in an Italian population] , and healthier markers of aging [ Mediterranean diet and telomere length in Nurses’ Health Study_ population based cohort study 1]

The PREDIMED RCT showed, using 7447 individuals, that the Mediterranean diet that is supplemented with nuts or olive oil relative to a low-fat diet will decrease the risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, or cardiovascular death. —> Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean diet and Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet Insights From the PREDIMED Study.

Other benefits of the diet include decreased inflammation and coagulation disorders [Adherence to the Mediterranean diet attenuates inflammation and coagulation process in healthy adults – ATTICA study] as well as Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome improvement, lower blood pressure, decreased atrial fibrillation rates, and decreased peripheral arterial disease. Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet Insights From the predimed study

Adherence to Mediterranean diet and health status_ meta-analysis

Preventive obesity agent montmorillonite adsorbs dietary lipids and enhances lipid excretion from the digestive tract

Certain dietary patterns are beneficial for the metabolic syndrom- reviewing the evidence.

Obesity as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease a 26-year follow-up of participants in the Framingham Heart Study. << The bottom line is adherence is critical to have the benefits of any diet, including the Mediterranean diet!

Long-term effectiveness of diet-plus-exercise interventions vs. diet-only interventions for weight loss a meta-analysis

Importance of functional foods in the Mediterranean diet

Indicators for the evaluation of diet quality

Sustainable diets the Mediterranean diet as an example

What current literature tells us about sustainable diets emerging research linking dietary patterns, environmental sustainability, and economics

Long-term effectiveness of diet-plus-exercise interventions vs. diet-only interventions for weight loss a meta-analysis

Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN Diets for Change in Weight and Related Risk Factors Among Overweight Premenopausal Women

Fruit, vegetable, and fiber intake in relation to cancer risk findings from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC

British Journal of Nutrition – Increased intake of fruits and vegetables in overweight subjects_ effects on body weight, body composition, metabolic risk factors and dietary intake –

New Obesity Guidelines

A Diet by Any Other Name Is Still About Energy

Comparison of Weight Loss Among Named Diet Programs in Overweight and Obese Adults

Dietary inflammatory index and telomere length in subjects with a high cardiovascular disease risk from the PREDIMED-NAVARRA study

Behavioral Counseling to Promote a Healthy Lifestyle for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Persons With Cardiovascular Risk Factors An Updated Systematic Evidence Review

Mediterranean diet and cardiodiabesity a review.

Food Processing and the Mediterranean Diet

Dietary patterns, inflammation and the metabolic syndrome.

Effect of a mediterranean-style diet on endothelial dysfunction and markers of vascular inflammation in the metabolic syndrome a randomized trial.

Mediterranean diet and risk for Alzheimer’s disease.














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