Healthy Living

Can The Mediterranean Diet Really Promote Weight Loss? Study Says Yes

The question of what to eat to lose weight has never been answered with more satisfaction and accuracy than it has been with a recent study.

The usual confusion over eating a diet rich in fruits, nuts and protein in the form of fish versus a high calorie Western diet is the biggest existential question of our generation and it has been resolved for the first time by a study published in the American research journal Obesity on April 23.

The study was conducted by Wake Forest School of Medicine on 38 housed female primates over a period of 38 months. The monkeys were randomized into two groups. The first batch of primates were fed a Western diet generally eaten by human beings in terms of calorific value and micro-nutrients, with equal amounts of protein and fat derived from animal sources.

The other group ate the human equivalent of the Mediterranean diet derived from plant sources. The two groups were put together based on their baseline weight and body fat. As they were allowed to eat as much as possible, it was found that monkeys on the Western diet had a higher appetite and were eating more signicant amounts, when compared to the other group on the Mediterranean diet, who were consequently more healthy and full. 

The outcome is significant because no past study conducted on human beings with the two heavily debated diets being alternatively consumed were able to conclusively prove that following the Mediterranean diet helps weight loss.  

What exactly did the study prove? To quote the researchers directly from the study,“The Western diet increased caloric intake for the first 6 months and body fat, activity, energy expenditure, insulin resistance, and hepatosteatosis after 2.5 years, whereas the Mediterranean diet reduced triglyceride levels.”

This groundbreaking research paper elaborates on the first pre-clinical trial to conclude with evidence that a Mediterranean diet protects the body from obesity-related diseases, particularly fatty liver.

Previous studies conducted on the benefits of the Mediterranean diet only proved that it reduced the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 16 percent, namely in the PREDIMED study. In the Lyon Diet Heart Study, the Mediterranean diet brought down the risk of cardiac trouble by 70 percent.

However, on a few experiments conducted on human beings, Mediterranean diet groups lost more weight compared to the low-fat group, but it could not be statistically proven in 2 out of the 3 studies that took this facet into consideration. 

The lead researcher of this breakthrough gave a statement to EurekAlert, a digital resource for journalists run by American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He elucidated the reason behind why corporate America sells the Western diet to people despite the obvious health problems.

"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, which is such a problem in this country,” Carol A. Shively, Ph.D., professor of pathology at Wake Forest School of Medicine said.

Surprisingly, the study comes a few months after 41 diets were rated by a panel of experts for U.S. News. The Mediterranean diet scored 4.2 on 5 over other well known diets such as the Ketogenic diet, Mayo Clinic and the DASH Diet.  .

Med diet A Spanish farmer collects hand-harvested almonds from his orchard on September 29, 2018 in Quel in the province of La Rioja in Spain. Nuts are an important component of the Mediterranean diet consumed in the area. David Silverman/Getty Images)