Health

Mediterranean Diet Plus Regular Exercise Maintains Weight Loss

A new study shows the formula tor long-term weight loss and heart health is to eat the nutritious Mediterranean diet and engage in regular workouts.

Dec. 11, 2018
By Mary West

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Doc­tors fre­quently advise obese patients, par­tic­u­larly those with meta­bolic syn­drome, to lose weight by adopt­ing a healthy lifestyle. While low-fat and low-carb diets help in the short-term, research doesn’t sup­port their long-term ben­e­fits. A new study found the com­bi­na­tion of the Mediter­ranean diet (Med­Diet) and exer­cise pro­moted weight loss and reduced car­dio­vas­cu­lar risk, ben­e­fits that were main­tained after one year.

In the research pub­lished in the jour­nal Dia­betes Care, sci­en­tists stud­ied 626 over­weight patients between the ages of 55 and 75. The par­tic­i­pants had at least three of the fol­low­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar risk fac­tors: high blood pres­sure, abdom­i­nal obe­sity, high blood sugar lev­els, low HDL cho­les­terol and high triglyc­erides. Researchers mon­i­tored changes in fat accu­mu­la­tion, body weight and an array of car­dio­vas­cu­lar risk indi­ca­tors through­out 12 months.

The results showed that con­sump­tion of the Med­Diet, which is nat­u­rally low in calo­ries, led to at least a five-per­cent weight reduc­tion. In addi­tion, the par­tic­i­pants expe­ri­enced improve­ments in inflam­ma­tory mark­ers and glu­cose metab­o­lism com­pared to those who didn’t fol­low the diet. More­over, patients who had dia­bet­ics or a risk of dia­betes enjoyed espe­cially high glu­cose con­trol ben­e­fits.

Accord­ing to the research team, the most weight loss was noted after 12 months, a find­ing that shows the weight reduc­tion was main­tained over time. They con­cluded that the Med­Diet and a reg­u­lar exer­cise pro­gram may pro­duce long-term advan­tages for car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, which would trans­late into fewer deaths from heart attacks and strokes.

Olive Oil Times spoke with Michael Ozner, a board-cer­ti­fied car­di­ol­o­gist, spe­cial­iz­ing in heart dis­ease pre­ven­tion, and author of The Com­plete Mediter­ranean Diet. He shared his per­spec­tive on the value of the eat­ing plan:

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Fad diets like low-carb diets allow peo­ple to lose weight quickly, but we need to look at their sus­tain­abil­ity and their impact on long-term health. Such diets are hard to fol­low over a long period, and they carry car­dio­vas­cu­lar risks. This is why, as a car­di­ol­o­gist, I pre­fer the Med­Diet, which can be used from the very young to the very old. It’s the ideal eat­ing pat­tern because it pro­motes weight man­age­ment, along with mul­ti­ple other well­ness ben­e­fits.

The Med­Diet has been researched exten­sively. Stud­ies show it reduces the like­li­hood of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, Alzheimer’s dis­ease, blood clots and meta­bolic syn­drome. The evi­dence also indi­cates the diet improves insulin sen­si­tiv­ity, low­ers oxida­tive stress, decreases inflam­ma­tion and enhances endothe­lial cell func­tion.

Con­sump­tion of the toxic Amer­i­can diet, which is calo­rie-dense, nutri­ent-depleted and highly processed, leads to many med­ical prob­lems. Con­versely, the unprocessed foods that com­prise the Med­Diet pro­vide the body with nutri­ents it needs to max­i­mize health. It’s rich in fruits, veg­eta­bles, legumes, fatty fish, nuts, seeds and extra vir­gin olive oil. The eat­ing plan is also low in red meat and sug­ary bev­er­ages.

Com­bin­ing the Med­Diet with exer­cise can do much to pre­vent dis­ease. As I said recently at the Obe­sity Med­i­cine Asso­ci­a­tion Fall Con­fer­ence, patients can often do more with a knife and fork and good pair of walk­ing shoes to main­tain opti­mal health than we can do with med­ica­tions, stents and scalpels.”





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