Mediterranean diet can keep cholesterol levels at normal level even in the long run.

There are a slew of diets promising weight loss, we can choose from. While these diets help us lose weight, they also help improve heart health by lowering the level of bad cholesterol (LDL). However, a new study suggests that all these weight loss diets have a short-term impact on our weight and cholesterol levels, with the exception of Mediterranean diet, which continues to stabilise the cholesterol level even after a long period of 1 year of switching to the diet. 

The research was carried out by a team of international researchers to determine the relative effectiveness of dietary macronutrient patterns and popular named diet programmes for weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor improvement among adults who are overweight or obese.

The findings of the study that were published in journal ‘The BMJ’ revealed that almost every weight loss diet results in some amount of weight loss and a better cardiovascular risk profile for a period of about six months, but after 12 months, the dieter gains back a major chunk of weight that was shed earlier, and most of the cardiovascular risk factors come back at their original levels. It was only the Mediterranean diet that kept the LDL level to its low point. 

A group of dieters were observed for a period of one year for the purpose of the study. “We categorised eligible control diets as: usual diet (eg, wait list: participants were instructed to maintain their usual dietary habits), dietary advice (eg. received brochures, dietary materials including dietary guidelines, or consultation with a professional dietician by email or telephone), and low fat diet (less than 30% fat with or without advice about lowering calories). We used the usual diet as our reference diet and presented results for the other diets against the reference diet,” said Long Ge, one of the researchers. 

After 6 month, an average loss of 3.5 to 5.5 kg, and a significant drop in blood pressure, and some improvement in HDL (good cholesterol) was seen among the dieters. When the dieters were reassessed after 12 months, they all showed a reduction in the expected weight loss by 1.5 kg.  Although, almost all the dieters had their cardiovascular risk factors back, there were few exceptions in people following the Mediterranean diet.

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By Papa