FINALLY some good news out of the world of dieting research! A study funded by the Spanish government has found that a Mediterranean diet can have more weight-loss effects than a typical low-fat diet. PRAISE.
The Mediterranean diet consists of food traditionally eaten in countries like Greece and Italy. The diet’s high in produce, whole grains and olive oil; moderate in proteins; and low in red meat, refined carbs and ‘junk’ food. It’s not exactly low-fat, but it’s been proven several times over to have certain health benefits.
For years, a Mediterranean-style diet has been linked to good heart-health, reduced instances of cancer and type 2 diabetes. This study compares it’s impact on body weight and waist circumference to that of a common low-fat diet. The results are in, folks, and it looks like fat is not our enemy. Hooray!
Contrary to what we’re told constantly, our bodies need fat to function. What we don’t need are excess amounts of sugar and trans fat coursing through our veins. We should be fueling our bodies with good fats like those found in nuts, vegetable oils and fish.
This study randomly divided participants into three groups: a low-fat diet group and two unrestricted calorie Mediterranean diets, one with a focus on nuts and the other with a focus on olive oil. Neither physical activity nor latency was promoted. After five years of pre-study observation, five years on the respective diets and a final five years of post-study observation, the researchers report that–though the difference is minor–the groups on Mediterranean diets lost the most in weight and waist circumference. The olive oil group did the best of all, making us think that we should definitely be adding it to the shopping list.
The researchers conclude that the problem with a high-fat diet is not so much the presence of fat, but where the fat’s coming from. If you’re consuming red meat, refined carbs and sugary beverages, the negative impact on your body is extremely high compared to getting the same amount of fat from ‘good’ sources.
So, it looks like olive oil is in, processed foods are out. And since we’ve always loved Mediterranean food anyway, bring on the Greek salad!