vegetarian and Mediterranean diets proven for weight loss and preventing cardiovascular disease

These two diets are great for losing weight and for reducing your risk of heart disease, which is not surprising because they have a lot in common.



The Mediterranean diet is loaded in whole grains, fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and olive oil. It is moderate in fish and low in meat and dairy. It has been shown to be better than the standard North American diet for heart health. A lacto-ovo vegetarian diet allows eggs and dairy but eliminates all meat and fish. Tons of studies have shown it to be  great for heart health (Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2017;57:3640–3649) and for weight loss.

This important new study put 100 overweight people who ate meat and who were at low-to-moderate risk of cardiovascular disease on either a Mediterranean diet or a vegetarian diet for three months. At the end of the three months, both diets were equally effective at lowering body weight, body mass index and fat loss.

Both were also effective at lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. The vegetarian diet helped primarily by lowering the dangerous LDL cholesterol; the Mediterranean diet helped primarily by lowering triglycerides. 44.2% of people on the vegetarian diet and 34% of people on the Mediterranean diet improved their cardiovascular risk by reaching the defined target for at least one cardiovascular risk factor. Sixteen people in the vegetarian group reached the target value for total cholesterol; seven people in the Mediterranean diet group did. Seventeen people in the vegetarian group reached the target value for LDL cholesterol; six people in the Mediterranean diet group did. Six people in the vegetarian group reached the target value for triglycerides; 8 people in the Mediterranean diet group did. Fourteen people in the vegetarian group reached their target body mass index; ten people in the Mediterranean diet group did.

This study shows that both the vegetarian diet and the Mediterranean diet are effective both for weight loss and for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. There is a lot of overlap between the two diets because both reduce meat and both emphasize heart healthy foods like whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes.


Circulation 2018; doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.030088


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The Natural Path is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.

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