For people looking to lose weight and improve their health, there are numerous diets to choose from. Two popular options are the Mediterranean diet and the vegan diet. Both have been shown to have benefits for weight loss and reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. But which one is more effective? A randomized trial sought to answer this question.
The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, included 62 overweight adults who were randomly assigned to either a Mediterranean or vegan diet for a 16-week period. After this, they were asked to return to their baseline diets for 4 weeks before switching to the other diet for another 16 weeks. The study measured body weight, plasma lipids, blood pressure, and body composition, as well as insulin resistance, and predicted insulin sensitivity indices.
The results showed that participants on the vegan diet lost an average of 6 kg, while those on the Mediterranean diet did not experience any net weight loss. The vegan diet was also associated with a decrease in insulin resistance and an increase in insulin sensitivity, while the Mediterranean diet did not have a significant effect on these measures.
Interestingly, both diets were associated with a decrease in blood pressure, but the decrease was greater with the Mediterranean diet. Participants on the Mediterranean diet experienced a 9.3 mmHg decrease in systolic blood pressure and a 7.3 mmHg decrease in diastolic blood pressure, while those on the vegan diet experienced a 3.4 mmHg decrease in systolic blood pressure and a 4.1 mmHg decrease in diastolic blood pressure.
In terms of cholesterol levels, participants on the vegan diet saw a significant decrease in both total and LDL cholesterol, while those on the Mediterranean diet did not experience a significant change. However, it's worth noting that the study only looked at participants who did not make any medication changes during the study.