Which is better for your health, Mediterranean or vegetarian diet? This is what researchers from Italy sought to find out during a recent study. The results are interesting.
Frankly, choosing a healthy diet can confusing. We live in the information age, and information overload is in virtually every field including diet and nutrition. Even after you’ve narrowed down your choices, you may find yourself at a folk and unable to decide which way to go.
Such is the dilemma when it comes to a choice between Mediterranean diet vs vegetarian diet, for weight loss and cardiovascular health. The two have been touted as good for your heart as well as your waistline. But how do they stack against each other? The aforementioned recent study compared the two popular diets for the two benefits they linked to, weight management and heart health.
The two diets are similar some aspects. For one, they are both heavy on vegetables as well as nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
However, the Mediterranean diet is light on butter, which is usually replaced with healthy fats, especially olive oil. Healthy meats such as fish and poultry are also consumed. Vegetarian diet avoids consumption of animals (meat), but animal products such as butter, eggs, and cheese are usually okay.
Now, people often ask about the difference between vegetarianism and veganism. The difference is that vegans avoid meat as well as animal products such as milk and eggs.
So, Which Is Better, Vegetarian Diet or Mediterranean Diet?
For the study, 107 overweight adults between 18 and 75 years old were assigned to follow either a vegetarian or Mediterranean diet for three months. After the three months the groups were swapped diets. At the start of the study, all participants were omnivores, meaning that they ate both animals and plants.
The participants were not given any particular weight loss goals, but they received regular counseling from nutritionists. On both diets the they received similar amounts of nutrients. Menus were designed to be low-calorie.
The researchers took baseline and ongoing parameters including body weight, body mass index (BMI), and lipid levels.
When the results were tallied, it was a tie. Participants from both groups lost approximately three pounds of body fat and dropped four pounds of weight overall. Similar BMI measurements were noted in both groups.
One notable difference is that those on the vegetarian diet had greater reduction in LDL cholesterol, while those in the Mediterranean diet had greater reduction in triglycerides.
The study is published the AHA Journal.d