The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet are widely known. By eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts, with only a moderate amount of animal protein incorporated, followers can experience improved heart and brain health, lower chances of developing cancer, and prevention and control of diabetes. Last but not least, the popular diet has been touted for its weight loss benefits, too.
A new study published in the medical journal “Heart” has not only demonstrated the weight loss potential of the popular diet, but has shown that dieters can shed even more pounds by following a “green” Mediterranean diet, where they reduce their consumption of meat even further. (Related: 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.)
Researchers assigned moderately obese participants, mostly men in their 50s, to three different diet regiments. The first group followed basic health-promoting guidelines for a healthy diet, the second group was put on a calorie-restricted traditional Mediterranean diet, while the third group followed the Green Mediterranean diet, where they avoided red/processed meats altogether. Furthermore, the Green Mediterranean diet was richer in plants and polyphenols, which are plant-based micronutrients.
The results showed that minimizing the consumption of animal protein and maximizing the intake of plant-based foods supercharged weight loss. The Green Mediterranean diet group lost more weight than the other two groups, an average of 13.7 pounds. Those following a regular Mediterranean diet still lost a good amount of weight, an average of 11.9 pounds, while those following a basic healthy diet only shed an average of 3.3 pounds.
Additionally, the Green Mediterranean diet group lost more inches from their waist—3.4 compared to 2.7 inches lost by traditional Mediterranean dieters and 1.7 inches shed by the healthy dieters.
This is another piece of evidence that plant-based and vegan diets have tremendous weight loss benefits for both men and women. Check out 7 Major Weight Loss Findings You Should Know, to learn about new science-backed tips on weight loss.
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