Vegetarian or Mediterranean Diets Boost Heart Health and Weight Loss
To eat well for heart health and weight loss, a recent study suggests two good choices: Go vegetarian or follow the Mediterranean diet. Italian researchers enrolled 100 overweight and obese adults without diabetes, whose average age was 50. For three months, half ate a low-calorie, meat-free diet (eggs and dairy were OK); the other half followed a Mediterranean plan, which is mostly plant based but allows fish, chicken, and small amounts of red meat. Both groups lost an average of about 4 pounds. By the end of the study, vegetarians’ LDL (“bad”) cholesterol had lowered, compared with those who ate a Mediterranean diet. Those on the Mediterranean diet, however, saw a drop in unhealthy triglycerides compared with those on the vegetarian diet. The study doesn’t prove the diets caused the health improvements, but it makes a case for such eating plans as beneficial to heart health. A longer-term study is needed to determine how likely dieters are to stick to either plan over time. Thinking of going vegetarian? We weigh the pros and cons—plus offer tips.
Source: Circulation, Feb. 26, 2018