When it comes to losing weight and getting fit, most of us eye on improving our diets. The health and nutrition circuit is brimming with fad diets that promise to show quick weight loss results, but a majority of people tend to give up easily on these diets.
While intermittent fasting, Mediterranean and paleo diets benefit people affected with overweight issues, the University of Otago’s research shows that the Mediterranean diet is the easiest to stick to.
The study was conducted on 250 participants, where they chose to follow diet of their choice for a period of one year, without ongoing support from a dietitian. The aim of the research was to examine how effective all three diets were in reality.
While 54% participants elected the intermittent fasting diet, 27% chose the Mediterranean and 18% the paleo. Despite not having the highest uptake, the Mediterranean diet had the best retention rate with 57% of participants continuing.
Co-lead author Dr Melyssa Roy, a research fellow in the Department of Medicine, said that the amount of weight loss was modest (on average two to four kilograms for the 250 participants), but for those choosing the fasting or Mediterranean diets, clinically significant improvements in blood pressure were also seen.
The Mediterranean diet for weight loss also helps in stabilizing blood sugar levels.
“Evidence showed that for some people the Mediterranean diet, fasting or paleo (Paleolithic) diets can be a healthful, beneficial eating habit,” added Dr. Roy.
“This work supports the idea that there isn’t a single ‘right’ diet—there is a range of options that may suit different people and be effective. In this study, people were given dietary guidelines at the start and then continued with their diets in the real world while living normally,” explained Melyssa.
“Like the Mediterranean diet, intermittent fasting and paleo diets can also be valid healthy eating approaches—the best diet is the one that includes healthy foods and suits the individual.”
Co-lead author Dr Michelle Jospe, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Medicine, explains the importance of choosing a diet that is sustainable.
Other than this, reduced systolic blood pressure was observed among those participating in the fasting and Mediterranean diets, together with reduced blood sugar levels in the Mediterranean diet.