Scientists have compared two of the most popular diets. And surprisingly the best is …
On the one hand the noble Mediterranean diet, the most loved by nutritionists. On the other hand, a recent discovery after all: the ketogenic diet or keto, known for sparingly limiting carbohydrates, reducing them to a few per day. But from a nutritional point of view which is the healthiest? And the most effective?
The answer tried to give her a new clinical study that compared the two diets, asking 33 people with pre-diabetes or diabetes to follow them one after the other, for 3 months. Researchers monitored weight, blood sugar (glucose) levels, cardiovascular risk factors, and adherence to each of the 2 diets of all volunteers. Discovering that …
Mediterranean vs Keto: which is the best diet?
“Both diets improved blood glucose control to a similar degree and both groups lost a similar amount of weight,” says Dr. Walter Willett, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. So Mediterranea and Keto are even?
Not quite: when researchers looked at the impact of the 2 diets on blood fat levels that contribute to heart disease, the Mediterranean diet was the winneraccording to the study published in theAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The researchers monitored low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, known as cholesterol bad, and triglycerides, a different type of fat in the blood, which contributes to hardening of the arteries. The result? “The keto diet significantly increased cholesterol LDL of 10%, while the Mediterranean diet reduced cholesterol LDL of 5%, “Dr Frank Hu, chair of the nutrition department at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, told CNN.” Quite a big difference and this could have long-term consequences for cardiovascular disease. “
It must be said, however, that while both keto and Mediterranean reduced triglycerides, the ketogenic diet did it more significantly. However, the reduction in triglycerides is not as important as the increase in bad cholesterol. According to the Harvard expert, high LDL cholesterol is in fact a much more significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease than triglyceride levels. “So while both diets are quite effective in short-term glycemic control, I think the main problem is the potential long-term effects of keto on cardiovascular disease“.
Keto diet and Mediterranean diet: the differences
According to study author Christopher Gardner, director of the Nutrition Studies Research Group at Stanford University (USA), both diets agree that “we eat too many added sugars and refined grains and we don’t eat enough vegetables. ‘whole study was set up to see if there is an advantage in getting rid of fruit, whole grains and beans on keto, after doing the things everyone agrees on.
- The Mediterranean diet emphasizes the consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds and low animal proteins.
- The ketogenic diet instead it bans cereals, legumes and fruit with the exception of some vegetables and a handful of berries and relies heavily on proteins of animal origin: its supporters appreciate it because it allows for rapid successes in weight loss, pushing the body to ketosis, one state where it begins to burn stored fat as fuel.
The problem with the ketogenic diet is that in order to get to ketosis, carbohydrates are drastically reduced to 20-50 grams per day. And to make up for the lack of carbohydrates, there are those who fill their plate with dairy products and meats with saturated fats, which can contribute to inflammation and chronic disease.
Keto diet: what to watch out for
According to the study, in addition to the increase in bad cholesterol, people in keto phase showed a reduced intake of thiamine, vitamins B6, C, D and E and phosphorus and an incredibly low amount of fiber. “Whole grains and fruit, on the other hand, have positive health benefits, and their exclusion from the keto group raises some concerns about the long-term health impacts,” explains Dr. Willett. Not to mention that “many find that long-term adherence to a ketogenic diet is difficult”.
In fact, the study found that most of the volunteers dropped out of the ketogenic diet after the research ended. Despite being delivered food at home and having the support of a health educator, the volunteers stopped following the diet as soon as possible. While many of those who followed the Mediterranean diet continued to follow it even after the study was over.
The best diet is …
“The number 1 take-home message for me is that severe restriction of some healthy carbohydrates is not necessary to improve glycemic control and cardio-metabolic health,” concludes Dr. Hu. “You can follow a Mediterranean diet or a low carbohydrate diet or a very healthy vegetarian diet. Different options for people with different food preferences.”
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