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Don’t count calories to lose weight, eat Mediterranean diet instead

Don’t count calories to lose weight, eat Mediterranean diet instead

A Mediterranean diet plan has once again been hailed for its weight loss potential.

It’s long been reported that eating a diet rich in good fats from olive oil, nuts and fish can be good for our bodies, and now a new study focused on a group of overweight people in Spain has concluded that its more effective than counting calories.

Scientists from the University of Barcelona studied nearly 7,500 men and women, aged between 55 and 80, all with Type 2 diabetes or who were at risk of heart disease. Of the group, 90 per cent were classed as overweight or obese. The participants were put on one of three diets; an unrestricted Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, a similar diet rich in nuts or a typical slimming diet that avoided fat.

After five years, those who ate meals made with olive oil were found to have lost 1.9lb (800 grams), the low-fat eaters had shed 1.3lb (600 grams) and the nut group had dropped 0.88lb (400 grams) on average. An increase in waist circumference was seen in all three groups, with the low-fat group seeing the greatest increase with 1.2 cm, followed by 0.85cm in the olive oil group and 0.37cm in the nuts group.

Results have been published in Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, with lead study author Dr Ramon Estruch commenting on his team’s findings.

“More than 40 years of nutritional policy has advocated for a low-fat diet but we’re seeing little impact on rising levels of obesity,” he blasted.

“Our study shows that a Mediterranean diet rich in vegetable fats such as olive oil and nuts had little effect on bodyweight or waist circumference compared to people on a low-fat diet. The Mediterranean diet has well-known health benefits and includes healthy fats such as vegetable oils, fish and nuts.”

He adds that the research is not advocating an unrestricted diet high in unhealthy fats like butter, processed meats, sweetened beverages, desserts or fast food.

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