`Confused by Diet Options? Doctors Say Keep it Simple, Mediterranean - Olive Oil Times

Confused by Diet Options? Doctors Say Keep it Simple, Mediterranean

By Chris Lindahl
Dec. 23, 2019 08:30 UTC
Doctors say many fac­tors go into whether or not a diet will be suc­cess­ful, but keep­ing it sim­ple and Mediterranean” is a great way to go.

Two stud­ies released this week may have weight loss hope­fuls scratch­ing their heads, each pro­vid­ing seem­ingly con­flict­ing infor­ma­tion.

On September 2, the Annals of Internal Medicine pub­lished a study that showed higher rates of weight loss for adher­ents to a low-carb diet, com­pared to low-fat diet. Then, on September 3, a study pub­lished in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that those that fol­lowed either a low-carb or low-fat diet had, on aver­age, equal weight loss.

In the first study, researchers con­ducted a ran­dom­ized, con­trolled trial at Tulane University Health Sciences Center. One hun­dred sixty-eight peo­ple were ran­domly assigned either low-carb or low-fat diets. After 12 months, the low-carb dieters lost an aver­age of 12 pounds, while the low-fat camp only lost four pounds. The low-carb group also showed bet­ter gains in HDL cho­les­terol lev­els (“good” fat) as well as a low­er­ing of car­dio­vas­cu­lar risk fac­tors.

In the study pub­lished in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers eval­u­ated results of 48 tri­als of branded diets — from the low-carb Atkins and South Beach to low-fat options like the Ornish diet. Also included were other options like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers. The results showed that dieters, regard­less of approach, lost the same 16 aver­age pounds per year.

So who’s the win­ner here?

According to Howard LeWine, M.D. of Harvard Health Publications, any bal­anced diet can lead to a suc­cess­ful weight loss reg­i­men and over­all healthy lifestyle. Writing on the Harvard Health Blog, LeWine explained that many fac­tors go into whether or not a diet will be suc­cess­ful for a per­son. Factors such as genes and envi­ron­ment deter­mine metab­o­lism and body fat per­cent­ages, while exer­cise and mak­ing healthy food choices always makes a dif­fer­ence when it comes to results.

One eat­ing strat­egy that can pro­vide all that is the so-called Mediterranean diet,” he writes. Many stud­ies have linked fol­low­ing this type of diet to longer life and less heart dis­ease, dia­betes, can­cer, and other chronic con­di­tions.”

He rec­om­mends four or more serv­ings of both fruit or veg­eta­bles per day, at least 4 table­spoons of olive oil, a hand­ful of nuts a few times per week, whole grains, three or more serv­ings of fish per week and one serv­ing or yogurt or cheese per day.

In dis­cussing the results with the Boston Globe, Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., car­di­ol­o­gist and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, explained that the results of are not in fact con­tra­dic­tory.

In the sin­gle trial pub­lished in the Annals jour­nal, researchers didn’t ask peo­ple to reduce their calo­rie intake but just instructed them to change the com­po­si­tion of their diet — eat­ing fewer car­bo­hy­drates or less fat,” he said. In the JAMA meta-analy­sis look­ing at com­mer­cial diet plans, par­tic­i­pants reduced how much they ate and also altered their diet com­po­si­tion, so it’s impos­si­ble to know what actu­ally led to the weight loss.”

Mirroring the sen­ti­ments of LeWine, Mozaffarian explained that mak­ing healthy choices is far more impor­tant in deter­min­ing over­all health and diet suc­cess.

I think a tra­di­tional Mediterranean diet based on yogurt, cheese, dairy prod­ucts, legumes, and fish is the way to go,” he said.

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