A Mediterranean diet is regarded as one of the healthiest diets you can eat, but since it’s high in fat, many people with obesity avoid it for fear that it will add to their bodyweight.
However, a new study has found that eating a high-fat Mediterranean diet actually does not contribute to weight gain.
While many people would assume that eating high-fat foods will lead to weight gain, the findings from this study suggest that is false. In fact, eating a fatty Mediterranean diet may even be helpful for losing weight.
Mediterranean diets contain a lot of high-fat foods like nuts, olive oil, and fatty fish. Mediterranean diets have been linked to better health, increased longevity, and greater brain health.
In the new study, researchers looked at over 7,000 men and women who suffered from either diabetes or a high risk of heart disease. Over 90% of study participants suffered from obesity or were overweight.
The study participants were placed on one of three diets: a Mediterranean diet high in nuts, a Mediterranean diet high in olive oil, and a low-fat diet that eliminated all dietary fat. On average, the people eating the Mediterranean diet were eating more fat than before.
The study found that people on each diet ended up losing weight. In fact, people on the Mediterranean diet high in olive oil lost more weight than people on the low-fat diet.
As well, the people on the low-fat diet had a bigger increase in their waist circumference compared to the people on the Mediterranean diet.
The study authors concluded that fat content is not a good way to determine the quality of a diet. As well, high fat foods don’t necessarily cause weight gain. In some cases, a high fat diet may actually even help with weight loss.
According to lead study author Dr. Ramon Estruch, low-fat diets do not seem to be effective for reducing weight, despite many nutritional policies and guidelines that recommend them for weight loss.
However, Dr. Estruch also cautioned that this doesn’t mean people should eat unhealthy fats. While nuts, fish, and olive oil contain healthy types of fat, saturated fat and trans fat are still considered unhealthy. These fats are commonly found in butter, margarine, processed meats, fried foods, and desserts.
Estruch, R., et al, “Effect of a high-fat Mediterranean diet on bodyweight and waist circumference: a pre-specified secondary outcomes analysis of the PREDIMED randomised controlled trial,” The Lancet, June 06, 2016; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(16)30085-7.