Mediterranean diet for a healthy weight

Washington: A new study measured the outcomes of a long-term Western diet to that of a Mediterranean diet on obesity-related diseases and found that a Mediterranean diet can help you maintain a healthy weight.

The study was published in the Journal ‘Obesity’. “By comparison, the animals on a Western diet ate far more than they needed and gained weight,” said the study’s principal investigator, Carol A Shively.

The study was done over a period of 38-month. The diets were formulated to closely reflect human diets with protein and fat derived largely from animal sources in the Western diet and primarily from plant sources in the Mediterranean diet.

However, the two diets contained comparable proportions of fat, protein and carbohydrates. The study had 38 middle-aged females who chose either of the two diets randomly. Both groups were matched on their baseline weight and body fat and were allowed to eat as much as they wanted throughout the study.

“What we found was that the group on the Mediterranean diet actually ate fewer calories, had lower body weight and had less body fat than those on the Western diet,” Shively said.

Findings in the study indicate that a Mediterranean diet is better in protecting from an increase in consumption, obesity and prediabetes as compared to a Western diet.

Further, the Mediterranean diet was also found to be protecting against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which might lead to a liver transplant. Obesity is one of the major reasons behind NAFLD.

“The Western diet was developed and promoted by companies who want us to eat their food, so they make it hyper-palatable, meaning it hits all our buttons so we over-consume. Eating a Mediterranean diet should allow people to enjoy their food and not overeat,” said Shively.

She added, “We hope our findings will encourage people to eat healthier foods that are also enjoyable, and improve human health.”