Scientists from University Federico II in Italy and elsewhere found Mediterranean diet may be the healthiest diet for obesity prevention.
Obesity is a chronic health condition that raises the risk for heart disease — the leading cause of death in the United States — and is linked to many other health problems, including type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Obesity is caused by many factors including behaviors like eating patterns, lack of sleep or physical activity, and some medicines, as well as genetics and family history.
Many popular diets with very different macronutrient compositions, including the Mediterranean diet, have been used and studied for the prevention and management of obesity.
The Mediterranean diet is a diet inspired by the eating habits of people who live near the Mediterranean Sea.
When initially formulated in the 1960s, it drew on the cuisines of Greece, Italy, France, and Spain.
The diet is characterized by a high intake of vegetables, fruit, nuts, cereals, whole grains, and extra virgin olive oil, as well as a moderate intake of fish and poultry, and a limited intake of sweets, red meat, and dairy products.
In the current study, researchers aimed to summarize the most recent evidence on the effect of the Mediterranean diet on obesity and obesity-related diseases.
The team found the negative effects of obesity are partly reversed by weight loss that can be achieved with the Mediterranean diet, especially when the diet is low-calorie and in combination with adequate physical activity.
In addition, the composition of the Mediterranean diet has been correlated with an excellent effect on reducing the imbalance of cholesterols.
The team found the diet also improves the gut microbiota and immune system, strongly decreasing inflammation, a common ground for many obesity-related disorders.
People with obesity are at increased risk for a variety of diseases. Therefore, there is a strong need for measures to manage obesity and its related disorders.
At this point, the Mediterranean diet can work as a valuable nutritional intervention.
The team says the Mediterranean diet proves to be the healthiest diet available to tackle obesity and prevent several non-communicable diseases, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
The research was published in Current Obesity Reports and conducted by Giovanna Muscogiuri et al.
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