A new study shows that Mediterranean diet is as healthy for the heart as being vegetarian in the long run. The two diets are also equally effective in helping people shed the extra pounds.
Study authors concluded that there are no “significant differences” between the outcomes of the two eating patterns when it comes to weight control, body fat mass, BMI, and cardiovascular health.
Participants lost 3 pounds of body fat mass on both diets. So, the study revealed that both eating plans are “equally effective” in terms of weight loss benefits.
The study appeared this week in the journal Circulation.
- The vegetarian diet includes fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, and eggs, but it eliminates meat and fish.
- The Mediterranean diet is less strict, with poultry, fish, and lean meat being allowed.
The study also assessed the health benefits of the two diets when it comes to cardiovascular health, inflammation, oxidative stress, and diabetes risk. The only differences were vegetarian diet’s better ability to lower LDL cholesterol and Mediterranean diet’s better reduction of triglycerides.
Vegetarian and Mediterranean Diets Yield Similar Health Benefits
Lead author Francesco Sofi explained that being vegetarian is less effective in cutting triglyceride levels because of the surplus of carbohydrates and total fat when the meat is eliminated.
The trial dubbed Cardiovascular Prevention with Vegetarian Diet involved 118 healthy participants who agreed to follow a vegetarian diet or the Mediterranean diet between 2014 and 2015 to help them with weight loss.
Participants followed each diet for 3 months before switching to the other diet. Participants were equipped with weekly menus and a list of foods that they were not allowed to consume.
Researchers believe that the many health benefits of the two diets stem from a common dietary pattern that includes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, while limiting the intake of saturated fats and added sugar.
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