Healthy Diets Are Good for You, Even If You Gain
October 24, 2012
Israel21C — Yes, it’s worth sticking to a Mediterranean or low-carbohydrate diet, even if you gain back a few pounds.
That’s the bottom line of the follow-up study to the landmark 24-month Dietary Intervention Randomized Controlled Trial (DIRECT) study conducted by Prof. Iris Shai, an epidemiologist and researcher in BGU’s Faculty of Health Sciences.
Both the original and the follow-up study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
In the 2008 DIRECT study, 322 moderately obese subjects were randomly assigned to one of three diets available at home and in their workplace cafeteria: low fat, restricted-calorie; Mediterranean, restricted-calorie; or low-carbohydrate, non-restricted-calorie.
The Mediterranean diet is based on traditional eating habits of Greeks, Israelis and other Mediterranean-area nations.
It emphasizes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, olive oil, herbs and spices instead of salt, and moderate amounts of red wine. Fish and poultry are included in meals at least twice a week, while red meat is limited to no more than a few times a month.
According to the original study, the low-carb and Mediterranean diets both resulted in weight loss, as well as the beneficial metabolic effects of lower cholesterol, triglycerides and arteriosclerosis.
The follow-up data showed that even though people gained some weight back there were positive long-lasting effects in areas such as lower HDL/LDL cholesterol ratio and lower triglycerides.