The Mediterranean diet has positive effects on metabolic health and preventing obesity. A large study of nearly 500,000 men and women— aged 25 through, 70 who were living in 10 European countries— found a reduced risk of abdominal obesity in people who followed the Mediterranean diet. The diet is high in vegetables and unsaturated fatty acids. Common foods include olive oil, pasta, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, nuts and red wine. People living in Mediterranean countries have the lowest heart disease rates and greatest longevity in the world. Diet may play an important role in their excellent health.
The Mediterranean diet can be difficult for people not used to some of its foods. A German study found that feeding middle-aged, obese people a Mediterranean diet modified with butter-flavored canola oil, walnuts and walnut oil with calorie-controlled, daily sweet snacks promoted weight loss. People do better adhering to low-calorie diets when they eat familiar foods. Providing limited snacks and familiar foods helps people avoid cravings associated with weight-loss diets.
Source: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, published online February 18, 2015