A low-fat plant-based diet came out on top when compared with the Mediterranean in a study observing weight and cholesterol outcomes.
The trial featured in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. It took 62 ‘overweight’ participants and assigned them one of the two diets over four months.
Positive plant-based results
It measured bodyweight, plasma lipids, blood pressure, and body composition. In addition, the study looked at insulin resistance.
The results showed dieters lost almost 4.kg more fat mass on the vegan diet. They also had a drop in visceral fat, which is the fat surrounding internal organs.
Whilst there were no significant changes in cholesterol on the Mediterranean diet, those who ate plant-based dropped their levels by 18.7mg.
Blood pressure decreased on both diets, with the Mediterranean coming out with the largest reduction.
‘A vegan diet is more effective’
Dr. Hana Kahleova helped run the study. She is also the director of clinical research for the Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine (PCRM).
The PCRM is a nonprofit organization featuring 12,000 physicians.
‘Previous studies have suggested that both Mediterranean and vegan diets improve body weight and cardiometabolic risk factors. But, until now, their relative efficacy had not been compared in a randomized trial’. Dr. Kahleova said.
The study proved a vegan diet is more effective for both improving health markers and boosting weight loss – because it is associated with a reduction in calorie intake and fat consumption, she added.
Neal Barnard, president of the PCRM, said: “Many people think of the Mediterranean diet as one of the best ways to lose weight.
“The diet actually crashed and burned when we put it to the test. If your goal is to lose weight or get healthy in 2021, choosing a plant-based diet is a great way to achieve your resolution.”
He attributed the inclusion of ‘fatty’ fish, dairy products, and oils as the problem.