Mediterranean Diet Enriched in Nuts Does Not Lead to Weight Gain, According to New Research

The PREDIMED study suggests that current guidelines recommending a low-fat diet may create unnecessary fear based on healthy fats present in the Mediterranean Diet

05 Jul, 2016, 09:00 ET from International Nut & Dried Fruit Council (INC)

BARCELONA, Spain, July 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

A Mediterranean diet rich in plant-based fats, from sources such as nuts or extra virgin olive oil, and without calorie restriction, has been linked to weight loss and less gain in waist circumference compared to a low fat diet, according to a large randomized trial published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

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With this new finding, the PREDIMED (PREvención con DIeta MEDiterranea) study 1 suggests that current dietary guidelines which recommend a low-fat, low-calorie diet may create unnecessary fear of healthy fats which are abundant in a Mediterranean diet. "Previous recommendations should change since the Mediterranean Diet, with plant-based fats, does not imply weight gain," adds Prof. Jordi Salas-Salvadó, member of the research team.

The study took place in 11 hospitals in Spain from 2003-2010 and included 7,447 participants who were assigned to one of three intervention groups: an unrestricted-calorie Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil; an unrestricted-calorie Mediterranean Diet supplemented with walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts; or a low-fat diet with advice to reduce dietary fat. All participants were at high cardiovascular risk and more than 90% were overweight or obese.

All subjects lost weight during the follow-up, although those in the olive oil group lost more weight (0.88 kg weight reduction in the olive oil group compared to 0.60 kg in the low-fat diet group, and 0.40 kg in the nuts group). There was an increase in waist circumference in all three groups with the greatest increase seen in the low-fat diet group (1.2 cm increase for the low-fat diet group compared to 0.85 cm for the olive oil group and 0.37 cm for the nuts group). The authors concluded that "these results lend support to advice not restricting intake of healthy fats for bodyweight maintenance."

About the International Nut & Dried Fruit Council 

The International Nut & Dried Fruit Council (INC) members include nearly 700 nut and dried fruit-sector companies from over 70 countries. INC is the international organization of reference regarding health, nutrition, statistics, food safety, international standards and regulations relating to nuts and dried fruit.

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SOURCE International Nut & Dried Fruit Council (INC)