Friday, February 3, 2023

Science Says It: This Is the Best Eating Plan for Your Long-Term Health

In one corner: The Mediterranean diet. The Contenders: Who Will Win the Popular Keto, or Ketogenic Diet, Competition?

In one corner: The Mediterranean diet, highly regarded by doctors and a perennial favorite of nutritionists. Contender: The popular keto, or ketogenic, diet, which is known for limiting carbs to precious few a day.

Proponents of the keto diet claim that it reduces appetite, melts belly fat, and increases mental alertness, once a person has passed the first few days of the “keto flu,” the malaise, There is a feeling of fatigue and brain fog. Studies have shown at least a short-term improvement in blood sugar in people on the ketogenic diet.

Research has linked the Mediterranean diet to a lower risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, dementia, memory loss, depression, and breast cancer, as well as weight loss, stronger bones, a healthier heart, and longer life.

A new controlled clinical trial conducted during the pandemic compared the two diets by asking 33 people with prediabetes or diabetes to follow either diet one after the other for three months. During the first four weeks of each diet, participants received delivery of healthy keto-friendly or Mediterranean diet meals, and then followed the meal plan on their own.

The researchers monitored participants’ weight, blood sugar (glucose) levels, cardiovascular risk factors and adherence to diet. Which diet was still standing in the end?

“Both diets improved blood sugar control to a similar degree, and both groups lost a similar amount of weight.”

said Dr. Walter Willett, principal investigator for nutrition, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. He did not participate in the study.

However, when researchers examined the effects of the two diets on levels of blood fats that contribute to heart disease, the Mediterranean diet was the clear winner, according to the study published Friday in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Both diets were evaluated according to their long-term effects. Image by danatentis from Pixabay

The study tracked low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, better known as “bad” cholesterol, and triglycerides, a different type of fat in the blood that also contributes to hardening of the arteries.

“The keto diet increased LDL cholesterol by 10%, while the Mediterranean diet reduced LDL cholesterol by 5%,” said Dr. Frank Hu, head of the department of nutrition at the TH Chan School of Public Health at Harvard. included in the study.

“The difference between the two diets is quite large, and it may have long-term consequences for heart disease,” Hu said.,

Although both diets lowered triglycerides, according to the study, the keto diet did so more significantly.

However, lowering triglycerides isn’t as important as raising bad cholesterol, Hu said.

“High LDL cholesterol is a more potent and important risk factor for heart disease than triglyceride levels,” he said. “So while both sides were quite effective in short-term glycemic control, I think the main question is the potential long-term effects of keto on heart disease.”

“I Tried To Give Each Diet Its Best Chance”

Keto dieters achieve rapid weight loss success, they say, by putting people into ketosis, a state in which the body begins to burn stored fat for fuel. But to reach that point, carbs are reduced to 20 to 50 grams a day. (A cup of cooked rice has about 50 grams). Eating more carbs will get you out of ketosis.

A typical American’s daily diet is 50% carbohydrate, Hu said, so consuming less than 50 grams “is a big deficit. It’s hard for people to maintain.”

People often view the keto diet as a “meat” diet, loading their plates with full-fat dairy, sausage, bacon and other meats high in saturated fat, which can contribute to inflammation and chronic disease.

However, Christopher Gardner, research professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, said the study used a “well-designed ketogenic diet” that limited high protein intake and emphasized non-starchy vegetables. gives.

“I tried to give each diet the best chance it could. I didn’t try to make a bad ketogenic diet and a good Mediterranean or a bad Mediterranean and a good ketogenic diet,” said Gardner, who is also the director of nutrition studies research. . Group at Stanford…

The keto diet restricts grains, legumes and fruits, except for a handful of berries. However, the Mediterranean diet emphasizes filling your plate with fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.

Both diets agree that “we eat too many added sugars and refined grains, and we don’t eat enough vegetables,” Gardner said. “So the whole study was set up to see if there was any advantage to eating fruits, whole grains and beans on the keto diet after doing the things everyone agrees on.”
In addition to increasing bad cholesterol, people in the ketogenic phase had “low intakes of thiamin, vitamins B6, C, D, and E, and phosphorus” as well as “incredibly low fiber,” Dr. Shivam said. Joshi, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at New York University Grossman School of Medicine. He did not participate in the study.

“Whole grains and fruits have positive health benefits, and their exclusion from the keto group raises some concern about long-term health effects,” Willett said. Plus, she added, “many people find it difficult to follow the keto diet long-term.”

In fact, the study found that most people abandoned the keto diet after completing the research.

“The diet was brought to his house. He had a health teacher to help him,” Gardner said. “However, BOOM! Most people stopped following the keto diet almost immediately (when that part of the study ended), whereas many of those on the Mediterranean diet continued to eat that way after the study ended.” “

What is the main message of the study?

“The No. 1 take-home message for me is that severe restriction of certain healthy carbohydrates is not necessary to improve glycemic control and cardiometabolic health,” Hu said.

“You can have a healthy Mediterranean diet or a moderate low-carb diet or a very healthy vegetarian diet. There are different options for people with different food preferences.”

with information from cnn

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