It seems like everyone and their mother has a Weight Loss Diet Plan these days……anything from “extreme 30-day diet plan” to a “nutrient-rich diet plan”, or a more subtle “life-changing” diet plan. Some plans focus on reducing your appetite, while others restrict calories, carbs, or fat. Since all of them claim to be superior, it can be hard to know which ones are worth trying. The amazing thing is, the interest for loosing weight is great!
It’s estimated that nearly half of American adults attempt to lose weight each year according to the Center of Disease Control (CDC) 2018 “Attempts to Lose Weight Among Adults in the United States, 2013–2016” study. The truth is that no one diet is best for everyone, and what works for you may not work for someone else.
Research has shown that most reasonable diets will help you lose some weight, compared to not being on a diet at all. Generally, according to studies, and the American Heart Association )(AHA) 2017 “The American Heart Association Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations” study, diets rich in plants foods and low in processed or refined foods, with moderate exercise, are best for health and weight loss.
Most Popular Diet Methods
Some diets aim to curb your appetite to reduce your food intake, while others suggest restricting your intake of calories and either carbs or fat, however, some research, like a 2017 Perspectives In Psychological Science (NIH) study, found that reducing calorie intake may not help you lose body weight. Let’s take a quick look at the most popular ones and their downsides.
Intermittent Fasting. Intermittent fasting is a dietary strategy that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. One 2014 Translational Research and University of Illinois study reviewed by the NIH found this strategy to cause 3–8 percent weight loss over 3–24 weeks, which is a significantly greater percentage than other methods. Caution should be used with this diet for those sensitive to drops in their blood sugar levels, such as some people with diabetes, low weight, or an eating disorder, as well as pregnant or breastfeeding women, should talk to a health professional before starting intermittent fasting.
One 2016 study published in the Journal of Academy of Nutrition Diet and reviewed by the NIH reported that a generally 15 percent of participants reported negative side effects, such as feeling cold, irritable, low energy, or hungry.
Plant-Based Diets. Plant-based diets may help you lose weight by restricting animal products for health, ethical, and environmental reasons. Plant-based diets such as the vegan diet, likely aid weight loss because they tend to be rich in fiber, which can help you stay fuller for longer, and low in high-calorie fat according to a 2014 study published in Journal Nutrients (NIH).
Lack of animal protein restricts important nutrients that are typically found in animal products, such as iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids, causing deficiencies, found a Translational Psychiatry (NIH) study.
Low-Carb Diet. Low-carb diets like Atkins and Keto, are among the most popular diets for weight loss. Many studies indicate that low-carb diets can aid weight loss and may be more effective than conventional low-fat diets according to a 2015 Lancet Diabetes Endocrinology study reviewed by the NIH. However, there are downsides, in some cases, a low-carb diet may raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels according to a 2018 Atherosclerosis reviewed by the NIH.
Very-low-carb diets can also be difficult to follow and cause digestion upset in some people. Furthermore, in rare situations, following a very-low-carb diet may cause a condition known as ketoacidosis, a dangerous metabolic condition that can be fatal if left untreated, found a 2015 Journal of Medical Case Report (NIH) study.
The Paleo Diet. This diet advocates eating the same foods that your hunter-gatherer ancestors allegedly ate and based on the theory that modern diseases are linked to the Western diet of processed foods. Numerous studies have shown that the paleo diet can aid weight loss and reduce harmful belly fat, and one example of this is a 2017 Diabetes Metabolism Research study reviewed by the NIH. Though the paleo diet is considered healthy, it restricts several nutritious food groups, including legumes, whole grains, and dairy which could have possible detrimental effects according to a 2017 Mayo Clinic study “Paleo Diet: What Is It and Why Is It So Popular?” study.
Like low-carb diets, which involves restricting your fat intake to 30 percent of your daily calories, low-fat diets have been popular for decades. A 2012 British Medical Journal (BMJ) analysis reviewed by the NIH of 33 studies including over 73,500 participants found that following a low-fat diet led to small but relevant changes in weight and waist circumference. Restricting fat too much can lead to health problems in the long term, as fat plays a key role in hormone production, nutrient absorption, and cell health. Moreover, very-low-fat diets have been linked to a higher risk of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome according to an study published in the 2016 Journal of Clinical Nutrition (NIH) study.
The DASH Diet. The DASH eating plan was designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure and hypertension. It emphasizes eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats and is low in salt, red meat, added sugars, and fat.
For example, an analysis of 13 studies found that people on the DASH diet lost significantly more weight over 8–24 weeks than people on a control diet according to a 2016 Obesity Review study reviewed by NIH. While the DASH diet may aid weight loss, there is mixed evidence on salt intake and blood pressure. In addition, eating too little salt has been linked to increased insulin resistance and an increased risk of death in people with heart failure according to a 2011 study published in Metabolism and reviewed by the NIH.
A Diet Built On Research and Sound Principles
But, here’s the real catch, many popular Weight Loss Diet Plans aren’t based on sound scientific principles or research, meaning they actually can be bad for your health, or even life threatening. Some diets, like Weight Watchers diet is well-known, and others, like the Mediterranean Diet, per a 2015 Nutrients (NIH) study, or the DASH (Dietary Approaches To Stop Hypertension), should be.
Nationally recognized experts in the fields of dieting, nutrition, obesity, food psychology, diabetes and heart disease, came together and assisted U.S. News and World Report magazine “U.S. News Best Diets: How We Rated 35 Eating Plans determine the best diets criteria effective for weight loss” study.
The diet’s ability to produce short-term and long-term weight loss, its nutritional completeness, it’s ability to satisfy hunger, its safety and its potential for preventing and managing serious illness like diabetes and heart disease.
Besides safety and health, it’s important to note that more emphasis should be given as to the sustainability and practicality of a diet, in order to produce long-term weight loss, which would be 2 years or longer.
This is particularly important for those who can maintain a 5 percent to 10 percent loss in weight which will significantly reduce the risk of chronic illness such as heart disease or diabetes, according to the 2020 CDC in this “Losing Weight” review. For sure, quick loss of weight can be important for after-holiday eating or a long weekend trip to the beach, but, is it sustainable? Highly unlikely. More consideration should also be given in a practical sense, and that is, is your hunger being satisfied on a regular basis? Because if it’s not, you won’t stay with the diet.
For example, researchers around the world say what really works is not just cutting calories but satisfying your hunger with the right kinds of foods that fill you up and still taste good, too, according to the CDC report “Eat More, Weigh Less” study,
You can cut calories in your favorite foods by lowering the amount of fat and or increasing the amount of fiber-rich ingredients, such as vegetables or fruit.
In fact, women following a low-fat diet who were allowed to fill up on all the fruit and vegetables they wanted, not only lost weight but 23 percent of them also reduced their stress level, than women on a low-fat diet alone, per a new 2017 “Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Psychological Distress” study published in British Medical Journal (BMJ). That being said, let’s look at the best “healthy diet” that will not only assist you to lose weight, but also allow you to maintain a more healthy weight long term.
Overall Best Nutritious “Healthy” Diet
The Mediterranean Diet. Quote from an 2013 Iranian Journal of Public Health (NIH) review of the Mediterranean Diet:
The Mediterranean tradition offers a cousine rich in colors, aromas and memories, which support the taste and the spirit of those who live in harmony with nature.
According to the NIH, combining and balancing the food so as to satisfy the qualitative and quantitative needs of an individual and in a sense, preserves his health through the use of substances that help the body to perform normal vital functions. And, that’s exactly what the Mediterranean-style diet does. It’s generally accepted that the folks living around the Mediterranean Sea live longer, healthier and happier lives, and suffer less than most Americans from chronic illness such as from cancer and cardiovascular ailments according to an NIH review entitled “The Mediterranean Diet: From an Environment-Driven Food Culture to an Emerging Medical Prescription”, published in March 2019.
The first reports ascertained cardiovascular protection, as multiple large-scale clinical studies during the 1950’s, starting with Ancel Keys’ Seven Countries Study, showed a marked reduction of atherosclerotic clinical events in the poorest populations in the smallest towns on Southern Italy with a Mediterranean dietary pattern, compared to wealthy people of New York,
found a 2019 International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (NIH) study. Guess what the poorest were eating?
Though it’s not specifically a weight loss diet, many studies show that adopting a Mediterranean-style diet may aid weight loss, confirmed by a 2011 Metabolic Syndrome Related Disorders study reviewed by NIH. The analysis of 19 studies found that people who combined the Mediterranean diet with exercise or calorie restriction lost an average of 8.8 pounds more than those on a control diet.
The Mediterranean diet (Medi diet) encourages eating plenty of antioxidant-rich foods, which may help combat inflammation and oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals. The Medi diet has been linked to reduced risks of heart disease and premature death per a 2014 CMAJ (NIH) reviewed.
According to Wikipedia research, the Mediterranean Diet involves eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods and living an active lifestyle, resulting in better weight control and achieving a much healthier overall lifestyle.
A large Predimed 2013 study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, involved a total of 7447 individuals who were at a high risk of cardiovascular disease, had amazing results as risk of combined heart attack, stroke and death from cardiovascular disease was reduced by 30 percent using the Medi diet plus added extra virgin olive oil group, and 28 percent in the Medi diet plus extra raw nuts group.
Another Predimed 2008 JAMA Internal Medicine “Effect of a Mediterranean Diet Supplemented With Nuts on Metabolic Syndrome Status” study of 1224 individuals was analyzed after 1 year, examining whether the diet helped individuals reverse the metabolic syndrome. The results were amazing as the prevalence of metabolic syndrome decreased by 6.7 percent in the Medi diet plus extra virgin olive oil group and 13.7 percent in the Medi plus nuts group.
The results were statistically significant only for the Med + Nuts group. 372 individuals from the PREDIMED 2007 JAMA Internal Medicine study, reviewed by the NIH in a 2007 Archival Internal Medicine study, who were at a high cardiovascular risk were assessed after 3 months, looking at changes in oxidative stress markers like oxidized LDL and result showed the levels of oxidized LDL decreased along with several other heart disease risk factors, in both Medi Diet groups.
A 2011 Predimed Diabetic Care study, reviewed by the NIH, of 418 non-diabetic participants were assessed after 4 years, looking at their risk of having developed type 2 diabetes with the results showed the Medi diet reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by an incredible 52 percent.
772 participants in the PREDIMED, published in the Annals of Internal medicine 2006 study, were analyzed with regards to cardiovascular risk factors, after a study period of 3 months. The Medi diet caused improvements in various cardiovascular risk factors, including blood sugar levels, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol ratio, and C-reactive protein (CRP), found a 2006 Annals In Internal Medicine (NIH) study. And one more Predimed study for good measure. 7216 participants in a 2013 BMC Medicine (NIH) study were evaluated after 5 years confirmed consuming raw nuts in the Medi diet was linked to a 16-63 percent lower risk of death during the study period.
The Medi diet is low in lean red meats, sugar, saturated fats, and high in fish and seafood with some lean beef in lesser amounts, organic fruits, vegetables, raw nuts, edible flower seeds, fermented red wine, and other nutrient-rich foods like fermented foods, herbs and spices, including liberal quantities of extra virgin olive oil.
The Mediterranean Diet is a lifestyle (1) which simply means it is not only sustainable, but also enjoyable, making it easy to maintain. There’s a tremendous amount of variety in this diet as to country and culture, such as how the food is prepared in each culture.
Although the diet has basic common food categories and principles, the Greeks eat differently than the Italians, as the French eat differently from the Spanish, but all live a very healthy lifestyles. In 1993 Oldways created the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid, along with the Harvard School of Public Health and the World Health Organization(WHO), as a healthier alternative to the USDA’s original food pyramid. Today, the Mediterranean Diet is more popular than ever, with new research, such as this Mayo Clinic 2019 “Mediterranean Diet: A Heart-Healthy Eating Plan” Review, every month documenting its health beneﬁts, and chefs and home cooks alike embracing Mediterranean ingredients and ﬂavors.
In fact, at the start of 2019, the Mediterranean Diet was chosen the number one overall Weight Loss Diet Plan, beating-out the DASH Diet, by the U.S. News and World Report annual diet selection. Not surprisingly, the Mediterranean Diet was chosen as the number 1 overall diet for the 3rd year in a row by the U.S. News and World Report. To be a top-rated 2020 plan, a diet had to be relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe, effective for weight loss and protective against diabetes and heart disease (2). If you are serious about losing a few pounds, these are the features you should look for in a healthy diet, and the Mediterranean Diet fills the bill.
According to research, such as a 2017 Circulation (NIH) study, the proper diet for preventing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity and the foundation of the diet pyramid are the nutrient-rich foods of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, herbs, spices, raw nuts, edible flower seeds, fermented foods, herbs and spices, and healthy fats (omega 3 fatty acids) such as extra virgin olive oil. Then comes ﬁsh and seafood, moderate portions of traditionally-raised dairy foods, eggs, and poultry, and infrequent or less use of lean red meats and sweets.
It’s highly likely that many Mediterranean foods are already among your favorites. There are so many choices over so many cultures! Let’s look at some specifics of these healthy nutrient-dense foods used by the various countries and cultures:
Specifics Of the Mediterranean Diet
Lean Red Meats or Grass-Fed Finished Meats. The Medi Diet calls for using less red meats, for a good reason, especially fatty red meats and processed meats. However, there are certain red meats that have been proven by research like this 2010 BMC Nutrition Journal (NIH) study, to be just as healthy for you as fresh fish and seafood, and are an important addition to a Healthy Weight Loss Plan.
First of all, the source of the red meat you buy, whether it’s beef cattle or sheep or bison, should be raised on certified organic grasses only, or pasture raised for their entire life, commonly referred to as “Grass-Fed Finished” beef, per a 2017 Origins In Medicine “What does “grass-fed beef” really mean? And why should I care?” research. That means that beef cattle should not be given corn or grains as food, hormones, supplements, and antibiotics, anytime in their life.
These food animals should be allowed to roam and graze in organic-grown grasses and plants in open fields the way nature intended, where they can be healthy and happy, and as a result, their meats will be leaner and healthier and rich in micro-nutrients of antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, amino acids, anti-inflammatories, and the full range of vitamins and minerals.
It’s fine to add lean grass-fed finished red meats to your Medi Diet and you should look for certified organic grass-fed finished red meats when you’re shopping, or you can choose to buy it on this site in the “A List Of Healthy Foods To Eat” article (A). Examples are beef, bison, and wild game.
Lean Free-Range Poultry, Pork, or Lamb. Poultry includes chicken, turkey and duck. These food animals should be allowed to forage for their own food in unrestricted areas of pastures or open land, or free-range living, eating fresh organic grasses and insects (animal protein).
Their meats too will be just as nutritious as the grass-fed animals, and just as healthy for you. No caged chickens or housed turkeys for you! Learn more or purchase certified organic free-range or cage-free poultry, lamb or pork, by following this link (A). Speaking of caged, let’s take a look at eggs.
Cage-Free Brown Eggs. Eggs should also come from free-range or grass-fed finished laying-hens who are allowed to come and go as they please, from the open fields to their hen houses to lay eggs, producing nutrient-rich brown bright-yellow-yoked, nutrient-dense eggs, as per this Penn State 2010 “Research Shows Eggs From Pastured Chickens May Be More Nutritious” research.
Quoting the study,
Compared to eggs of the commercial hens, eggs from pastured hens eggs had twice as much vitamin E and long-chain omega-3 fats, more than double the total omega-3 fatty acids, and less than half the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.
Learn more or purchase certified organic cage-free or grass-fed brown eggs on this link (A).
Wild Caught Fish and Seafood. Cold water fish and seafood are one of the best nutrient-rich sources of lean protein. High in micro-nutrients such as omega 3 healthy unsaturated fats, a complete range of vitamins and minerals, particularly B complex, amino acids, and anti-inflammatories., is your best protein food source.
The most important health benefit is the ratio of healthy monounsaturated omega 3s fatty acids versus the less healthy saturated fatty omega 6s. In wild caught fish, omega 3s have a 6 or 9 to 1 healthy ratio. Learn more or buy wild-caught or cold-water fish and seafood in the “Order Fresh Seafood Online” article (A). And, whatever you do, don’t buy “farmed-raised” ocean fish and seafood because they are higher in unhealthy fats like omega 6s, per a Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center 2008 “Popular Fish, Tilapia, Contains Potentially Dangerous Fatty Acid Combination” study; dangerous microbes and parasites, per a Center of Disease Control (CDC) 2017 “Tapeworm Larvae in Salmon from North America” study; and contaminates like PCBs, according to a 2019 Mayo Clinic “I’ve Heard That Salmon is High in Dangerous PCBs. So What Are PCBs and What Risk do They Pose?” research.
Certified Organic Grass-Fed Dairy. And the same goes for dairy products. Except for when it’s time for milking, milk cows should also be allowed to roam freely in organic grassy pastures eating at their will, to produce highly nutritious and richest tasting milk, butter, and cheese, one can imagine. Quoting a 2018 University Of Minnesota “Grass-Fed Cows Produce Healthier Milk” research,
Learn more or buy certified organic grass-fed finished dairy products on this link (A).
Certified Organic Fruits. Fruits should be fresh organically grown from a reliable source, or specialty market, or better yet, from your own backyard garden, to provide nutrient-dense fruits high in micro-nutrients of antioxidants, omega 3s, amino acids, anti-inflammatories, and vitamins and minerals, found a 2012 Advances In Nutrition (NIH) study. The best nutrient-dense fruits are all forms of berries, and citrus fruits. Learn more and buy fresh certified organic fruits in “Vitamins and Minerals Chart” article (A).
Certified Organic Vegetables. The same goes for vegetables, which should be fresh organically-grown in any variety you prefer, or preferably grow your own. Vegetables are super healthy and can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar, which can help keep appetite in check, found a Harvard Health “Vegetables and Fruits” study.
The most nutrient-rich and healthiest veggies come from the cruciferous family, such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and dark, leafy greens, such as kale, turnip greens, spinach. Learn more or purchase Fresh Organic Vegetables in a “Vitamins and Minerals Chart” article (A).
Certified Organic Nuts and Edible Flower Seeds. Raw nuts and edible flower seeds are a staple of the Medi diet, which are a very good source of plant protein, low in saturated fats, but high in healthy fats like omega 3s, and a healthy choice.
The 2010 Nutrients (NIH) study concluded that nuts have nutritional characteristics that can benefit human health, and said this,
Nut intake demonstrates benefits on health outcomes, preventing and/or treating some chronic disease related risk factors, such as changes in glycemic and lipid metabolism, oxidative stress, and inflammation.
Good choices for nuts are walnuts, hazel nuts, almonds, pecans. Most nutritious edible seeds are pumpkin, chia, hemp, and sunflower. Your best option is to grow your own. Learn more and purchase Organic Nuts and Seeds in this “Vitamins and Minerals Chart” article (A).
Organic Whole Grains or Complex Carbs. Grains in the Mediterranean region are typically whole grain and usually contain very few unhealthy trans fats, and bread is an important part of the diet there.However, throughout the Mediterranean region, whole-grain bread is eaten plain or dipped in extra virgin olive oil, and not eaten with butter or margarines, which contain saturated or trans fats. According to the Harvard T H Chan School Of Public Health “Whole Grains” research,
Learn more and buy organic whole grain and complex-carbs products in the “List Healthy Foods-The Ones You Never Thought Of” article (A). Absolutely NO “White” bread, white rice, etc.
Natural Fermented Foods. Fermented foods, or cultured foods, have abundant amounts of microorganisms called probiotics, along with the added benefit of being the most efficient and stable vehicle for administration, as determined in a 2018 Frontiers In Microbiology (NIH) study. In other words, the chances of the probiotics reaching your inner gut and helping you with better digestion, are a lot higher when eaten from food, rather than taking a supplement which much less effective if at all effective.
The Medi Diet has been around for hundreds of years, and prior to refrigeration and chemical processing methods, fermentation was the main method of food preservation. The wonderful byproduct of this ancient technique is the formulation of hundreds, if not thousands, of various healthy probiotic strains, as found in a 2019 Microorganisms (NIH) study. One example where fermented foods are helpful is with your respiratory system.
One 2016 Medicine (Baltimore) NIH-reviewed study by the Cochrane Library concluded fermented foods were effective in upper respiratory infections in children. Good examples are fermented in the Medi diet are Greek olives (not pickled), Feta, Greek yogurt, and fermented Greek wine. Yes, homemade wine! Checkout how to make homemade fermented wine. (2) Learn more or buy Organic Natural Fermented Foods in the “List Healthy Foods-The Ones You Never Thought Of” article (A).
Nutritious Antioxidant Liquids. Non-sugary drinks are your best choice. Avoid diet drinks at all costs. Filtered water, green or black tea, coffee, pure natural orange juice, kale juice, beet juice, lemon juice, hot chocolate, red wine, especially fermented wine, fruit smoothies, cranberry juice, and ginger tea. These liquids have antioxidants and flavonoids which are good for your health, determined a Harvard Health “Other Healthy Beverage Options” study. Learn more and purchase Organic Antioxidant Drinks in the “List Healthy Foods-The Ones You Never Thought Of” article(A).
Organic Olive Oil. The optimal choice is certified organic extra virgin olive oil in copious amounts like the peoples of the Mediterranean Sea consume. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a rich source of micro-nutrients such as antioxidants and monounsaturated fats like omega 3s (healthy fat), both of which are thought to be protective against cardiovascular health, stroke, and other health issues, according to a 2019 International Journal of Molecular Science (NIH) study.
According to the 2013 Harvard Medical School “Is Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Extra Healthy?” study, 75 percent of it’s fat is healthy omega 3s, making it very effective against fighting chronic inflammation. Learn more and buy Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the “Foods High With Antioxidants” article (A).
Organic Herbs and Spices
Long before modern medicine, spices were valued for their ability to help individuals fight infection and aid in health promotion, and were considered healthy nutrition foods. Spices such as cinnamon, cassia, cardamom, ginger, pepper, and turmeric were known and used for commerce in the Eastern World. Ayurveic medicine, which is over 3000 years ago, utilized spices such as clove and cardamom, per a 2019 NIH “Ayurvedic Medicine: In Depth” research.
It’s best to buy all herbs fresh if you can find them, for the exception of robust herbs such as thyme, oregano, sage, mint, savory, and rosemary, which respond well to drying, preserving and often concentrating their flavor. The best option for fresh herbs is to plant your own along with fresh veggies, fruits, nut, and seeds in your backyard garden.
According to substantial research, it is evident that frequent consumption of spicy foods is also linked to a lower risk of death from cancer and ischemic heart and respiratory system diseases. Another 2019 Journal of AOAC International (NIH) study confirmed the healthy benefits of herbs and spices. For more information and to buy organic herbs and spices in the “List of Healthy Foods-The Ones You Never Thought Of” article (A).
Dark Chocolate. Yes, folks, dark chocolate (cocoa) is an excellent source of antioxidants and other plant polyphenols and incredibly healthy, especially in cardiovascular health, found a 2015 Vascular Medicine (NIH) study. So, go ahead and indulge, and enjoy yourself. Just don’t overdue it and no milk chocolate! For more information and to buy dark chocolate in the “List of Healthy Foods-The Ones You Never Thought Of” article (A).
Organic Peruvian Maca. Supplement with the natural whole food Adaptogen Peruvian Maca, for added health and well being benefits. P Maca is a well-balanced plant protein rich in micro-nutrients, and is a wonderful addition to the Medi Diet.
For more information, documented studies on benefits, and to order your Mighty Maca in the “Benefits In Maca” article (A).
A Review Of Eight Studies On Mediterranean Diet (more documented proof))
By following the Mediterranean Diet, you can also keep that weight off too, while avoiding chronic disease. In last 70 years, hundreds if not thousands of studies have added to the body of scientiﬁc evidence It’s unlikely that the Mediterranean diet has health risks, and it’s generally safe for everyone, from kids and adults to seniors, as long as you create a sensible plan. The Mediterranean Diet offers a host of health benefits as we covered numerous times above, including weight loss, heart and brain health, cancer prevention, and diabetes prevention and control, supporting the “gold standard” status of traditional Mediterranean Diet eating patterns.
These studies show that eating the Mediterranean way has incredible health benefits. That’s why it’s been singled out as the healthiest diet plan. We will discuss a few of these incredible health benefits:
A Review Of Eight Studies (in addition to the ones covered earlier)
The Mediterranean Diet and Heart Disease. In this 2019 Cochrane Database System Review study reviewed by the NIH, researchers analyzed 30 existing randomized controlled trials (the “gold standard” of nutrition research) and 7 ongoing trials of the Mediterranean diet and its impact on heart disease risk. The study found small to moderate evidence for beneﬁts of the Mediterranean diet for preventing heart disease, but noted that more research is needed to better understand the beneﬁts, particularly in patients who already have heart disease.
Preventing Blood Clotting and Olive Oil. In this study, presented at a American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention 2019 “Eating Olive Oil Once a Week May Be Associated with Making Blood Less Likely to Clot in Obese People” session, researchers analyzed the eating habits of 63 obese but otherwise healthy adults, and also analyzed the platelet activity in their blood. Platelets are the building blocks of blood clots when they stick together. Those eating olive oil at least once per week had signiﬁcantly lower platelet activation, indicating that their blood may be less likely to clot. The study is awaiting a peer-review.
The Medi Diet and Brain Health. Scientists analyzed the diets of 2,621 young adults with an average age of 25, and than assessed their brain health 25 to 30 years later (average ages than 50 and; 55, respectively).
The Medi Diet not only fulfilled what qualifies as a healthy Weight Loss Diet Plan, but also beneficial in brain health. Those most closely following a Mediterranean diet in young adulthood had a signiﬁcantly lower decline in cognitive function than those not following a Mediterranean diet, determined a 2019 Neurology (NIH) study.
The Medi Diet and Better Bone Mass In Women. A traditional Mediterranean diet includes frequent, but low-to-moderate amounts of dairy products, mostly in the form of artisans cheeses and yogurts. In a 2019 MDPI Nutrients “Adherence to a Mediterranean Diet and Bone Mineral Density in Spanish Premenopausal Women” study ,researchers analyzed the eating habits and bone density in 442 pre-menopausal women in Spain. Following a Mediterranean diet was linked with signiﬁcantly better bone mass.
The Medi Diet and Statin Lower Risk Of Dying With Heart Disease. Statins are a type of cholesterol lowering medication often prescribed to patients with heart disease. To see how diet might impact the eﬀectiveness of statins, researchers in a 2019 International Journal of Cardiology (NIH) study analyzed the eating habits and health outcomes of 1,180 older adults with heart disease for 8 years, and found the Mediterranean Diet lowered the risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and CAD/cerebrovascular mortality CVD patients, net of statins. In the same population, statins reduced CVD death risk only in combination with the Mediterranean Diet.
Those most closely following a Mediterranean Diet were 30 percent less likely to die from heart disease over the 8 year study period.
However, statins only reduced heart disease death risk when taken in combination with the Mediterranean diet. Furthermore, the patients taking statins in combination with a Mediterranean diet had a 50 percent lower risk of dying of heart disease than those just using one approach (diet or medicine). The researchers suspect that this synergistic eﬀect may be due to the anti-inﬂammatory eﬀects of the Mediterranean Diet.
The Medi Diet and Parkinson’s Disease. Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the nervous system that can cause stiﬀness and tremors, and make movement diﬃcult. In a study of 1,731 elderly adults, those most closely following a Mediterranean Diet had a 21 percent lower probability of showing early signs of Parkinson’s Disease than those not following a Mediterranean diet, according to a 2019 Moving Disorders (NIH) study.
The Medi Diet and High Blood Pressure. In a traditional Mediterranean diet, dairy was eaten often, but in small amounts, which were typically fermented dairy products, like artisans cheese and Greek yogurt. Researchers, in a 2018 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (NIH) study, wondered if a Mediterranean diet with slightly more dairy might still oﬀer some beneﬁts. So they randomly assigned 41 adults at risk of heart disease to a Mediterranean diet with 3-4 servings of dairy per day, or a low fat diet.
Compared to a low fat diet, the Mediterranean dairy diet resulted in signiﬁcantly higher HDL (good) cholesterol, lower triglycerides and signiﬁcantly lower blood pressure in the morning. However, more research is needed to see how a traditional Mediterranean diet compares with a higher dairy Mediterranean diet.
The Medi Diet and Lowering Depression. Scientists are eager to learn more about the link between a healthy diet and a healthy mind.
In this 2019 study by Molecular Psychiatry and reviewed by NIH, researchers analyzed existing observational studies between healthy diets (measured by the Mediterranean Diet score, the Healthy Eating Index, the Dietary Inﬂammatory Index, and related scoring systems) and depression.
According to the researchers,
Speciﬁcally, those most closely following a Mediterranean diet were 33 percent less likely to develop incident depression than those not following a Mediterranean diet. People whose diets scored well on some other diet scores also tended to have a lower risk of depression, though there were fewer studies using those indices.
Remember, all the research outlined in this study, are only scratching the surface on the health benefits of this incredible lifestyle, life-changing, diet plan. We hope you agree that the most effective and healthiest Weight Loss Diet Plan is the Mediterranean Diet. If you have comments or questions, leave them below.
You might also enjoy reading “What Is the Best Diet 2020?” article.
(1) UCLA Health Video
(2) News4Jax Video
(3) Alex Video