Sunday, September 13, 2020

Three Popular Diets Compared

The Study

This interesting study examined adherence, dietary composition, weight loss and health effects for three popular weight loss diets: intermittent fasting, paleo and Mediterranean. A total of 250 overweight adults were allowed to choose which diet they wanted to try and were followed for 1 year. Here are some of the results:

-Weight loss was slightly higher on the Intermittent Fasting diet at 8.8 lbs. by the end of the year. The Mediterranean diet was a close second at 6.2 lbs. The Paleo group only lost 4 pounds by the end of follow up. However, the Mediterranean group lost more body fat, visceral fat and had a greater drop in waist circumference than the other groups.

-The Mediterranean diet was the easiest to stick to with 57% of subjects sticking with the diet by the end of 1 year. The Intermittent fasting group was a close second with 54% of subjects staying on the diet by the end of 1 year. Only 35% of the Paleo subjects were still on their diet by the end of the year.

-The Mediterranean group had a significantly lower blood pressure and HbA1c compared to the other groups and also ended up with a lower c-reactive protein, which is a measure of body wide inflammation.

-The intermittent fasting subjects had the highest consumption of processed foods and lowest fiber and calcium intakes by the end of 12 months. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2020; 111:503-14.

Take Home Message

This is a really interesting study. When you are choosing a weight loss diet, you need to look at the whole picture. Will the diet work? Can you stay on it? How will it impact your long-term health? For me, the Mediterranean diet is the clear winner here. It provides the right combination of helping you lose weight, being the easiest to stay on and it has the best impact on your health. I have been recommending this type of diet for over 20 years with amazing results. If you want to learn more about it, check out the Healthy Eating Pyramid from the Harvard School of Public Health here.

No comments: