Keto vs Mediterranean diet: What’s better for longevity?

In a keto diet vs Mediterranean diet fight, an expert tells us which one takes the lead for a healthier and longer life.

Mediterranean diet for weight loss
The Mediterranean diet includes seafood and more and is good for weight loss! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Bhavani Swaminathan Updated on: 9 October 2022, 21:31 pm IST
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The Mediterranean diet and the ketogenic diet both promise to help you lose weight, but which is healthier? Despite the fact that both the Mediterranean diet and the keto diet have been around for many years, new health claims are constantly being made about them. The most recent is a Longevity Diet’, which is a set of eating recommendations compiled by biochemist Valter Longo, Director of the University of Southern California’s Longevity Institute. We cover the advantages and disadvantages of each, the foods that are and are not permitted, and the purported health advantages of following each eating pattern.

What is Mediterranean diet?

A diet is always less of a pattern and more of a way of life. So how does the Mediterranean diet look? This diet features characteristic of the seaside region that it originates in, has a number of red and processed meats, added sugars. The processed foods in this diet are moderate, and there are plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and legumes as well as healthy fats. The Mediterranean diet also emphasises socialising during meals, drinking red wine occasionally, and engaging in regular physical activity.

Side effects of Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is so open-minded that some people may find it challenging to adhere to its lack of rigidity. The Mediterranean diet may need more effort to prepare meals and be more expensive.

Mediterranean diet is good for heart
Mediterranean diet is good for heart. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Benefits of this diet

Many people find the Mediterranean diet’s lack of rigidity to be beneficial. There aren’t any limitations or calorie counts. Eating more of some foods and less of others is all that is required. Due to this, it is simpler for people to follow the Mediterranean diet. It helps in decreasing blood pressure and cholesterol.

Keto diet: What Is It?

In order to cure epilepsy, the ketogenic or keto diet was created in the 1920s. Since then, studies on this high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb diet for weight loss, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and other conditions have been conducted. Under this diet, less than 5 percent of total calories should come from carbohydrates, which is the hallmark. The body starts a process known as ketosis when carbohydrate consumption is very low, which causes the body to start using fat for energy. Ketones are produced by the liver from fat and are used as an energy source until carbs are again consumed.

Meat, fish, cheese, eggs, oils, avocados, butter, cream, nuts, seeds, and low-carb vegetables are the key components of a ketogenic diet. Limit or avoid higher-carb vegetables, the majority of dairy products, grains, legumes, fruit, and processed foods because they raise the intake of carbohydrates and may cause the body to exit ketosis.

keto diet benefits
A keto diet has its pros and cons. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Keto diet effects

There are several side effects of keto diet even though it can provide quick weight loss. The body enters ketosis when it transitions from using carbohydrates as fuel to using fat as fuel, which may lead you to experience the “keto flu”, which resembles the real flu.

Since there are so few carbohydrates, the keto diet involves careful planning. To make sure you are adhering to it properly, you may need guidance from a qualified dietitian or a nutritionist. Few people can stick to the extremely restrictive keto diet for life, which increases the risk of gaining some (or all) of the weight lost, back.

Benefits of keto diet

The ketogenic diet may increase insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar, and speed up weight loss. Additionally, you can do it without counting calories. You automatically cut calories by removing food groups, which results in weight loss. A high-fat diet makes you feel fuller longer, while more protein helps you lose weight by reducing hunger and accelerating your metabolism (although keep in mind that adding protein to any diet will do that).

Finally, it also seems to outwit ghrelin, a hormone that alerts the brain to hunger and generally increases in conjunction with dieting and weight loss.

Weight loss diets
Both these diets are good for weight loss. Image courtesy: Shuttterstock

Keto vs Mediterrannean: Which diet is better?

To address this particular subject, a controlled trial was carried out and the results were published in the May 2022 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Around 33 individuals with prediabetes or diabetes received healthy keto diet or Mediterranean diet meal deliveries for the first month; for the following two months, they were given guidelines to follow and had to come up with their own meals and snacks.

Both groups had similar weight loss and improved blood sugar control, but the Mediterranean diet triumphed on one crucial front: its capacity to lower LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol.

Keto dieters also tended to consume lesser amounts of thiamine, vitamins B6, C, D, and E, as well as phosphorus, and far less fibre and other vitamins and minerals. The authors concluded that strictly reducing good carbs like beans, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables doesn’t seem to have any specific benefits.

Studies have shown that a Mediterranean-style diet is linked to a lower risk of developing diabetes, certain malignancies, and cardiovascular disease.

Chronic inflammation can be reduced by eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and polyphenols, such as the Mediterranean diet. Lower levels of inflammation are linked to lower incidence of obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, among other diseases.

Due to its extreme low-carb nature, the keto diet forgoes the majority of plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, all of which have been associated in studies to decreased inflammation and improved health outcomes.

Healthy eating
Following either the diet or the Mediterranean diet will need you to be conscious! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Keto diet vs Mediterranean diet: How to choose?

Make your goal clear. What are your weight loss, heart disease risk reduction, blood sugar control, brain health, brain preservation, gut health, and other goals?
What does your medical professional advice? Consult your doctor and/or a trained dietitian before beginning any diet to discover which is the best option for your objectives and present health.

To make sure you remain within the suggested carb range and receive enough fat, the keto diet will require additional preparation. Traveling and eating out are both more challenging when following a ketogenic diet.

A majority of research, including a recent study that compared these two diets, indicate that a Mediterranean diet is simpler to maintain over the long term and better for the heart.

If you’re still interested in following a ketogenic diet after reading this summary of the keto vs Mediterranean diet, dietitians advice looking for heart-healthy fats most of the time (such as fatty fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocados) as part of your low-carb, high-fat menu. Try to restrict consumption of red and processed meats, butter, and cheese for less inflammation and improved health results.

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About the Author
Dr Bhavani Swaminathan Dr Bhavani Swaminathan

Dr Bhavani Swaminathan, Nutrition and Wellness Coach at GetSetUp

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