Will I gain weight on a Mediterranean Diet?
"Will I gain weight on a Mediterranean Diet?"
This is a question we get asked frequently. And it's no surprise.
The Mediterranean Diet is a diet that encourages the consumption of carbohydrates in the form of rice, beans, whole wheat bread, and fruit. We live in a society where carbs tend to be seen as the "bad guys".
People who have heard that low-carb is the best way to lose weight wonder if eating a carbohydrate-rich diet will cause them to suddenly gain weight? (You can also check out our article on Keto vs Mediterranean Diet.)
Certainly there are many factors that go into weight gain or weight loss. There's no way for us to address you in particular. (If you want someone to talk to about your specific scenario, our weight loss dietitians would be happy to help.)
However, speaking in general terms, people who follow a Mediterranean Diet tend to have an easier time maintaining a healthy weight!
What Does the Research Say?
You don't have to take our word for it! Here are two amazing studies that concluded that the Mediterranean Diet was great for weight, even as compare to both low-carb and low-fat diets.
The DIRECT Study: The DIRECT study compared the Mediterranean diet to a low-carbohydrate diet and a low-fat diet for weight loss. It found that participants on the Mediterranean diet experienced significant weight loss over a two-year period. This study highlighted the Mediterranean diet's effectiveness in weight management and its potential to produce sustainable results.
The PREDIMED Study: This is one of the most comprehensive studies on the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet. It's primary focus was on cardiovascular health. However, it also observed weight-related outcomes. This study demonstrated that people who followed a Mediterranean diet experienced weight loss and improved weight management compared to those following a low-fat diet.
Why does the Mediterranean Diet Help with Weight?
The Mediterranean Diet can promote weight loss or weight maintenance for several reasons:
Nutrient-rich foods: This diet focuses on whole, unprocessed foods that are naturally lower in calories and higher in nutrients than processed counterparts. This can help you feel satisfied with fewer calories.
An apple for example has about the same number of calories as one and a half oreo cookies. The apple will help you feel more full and stay fuller longer, leading to an overall decline in total calories. The vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants found in apples are also great for your overall health and positive mood.
High fiber content: The Mediterranean diet focuses on a diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. All these foods are high in fiber. Fiber helps promote feelings of fullness and can aid in weight management by reducing overall calorie intake, as we mentioned above. Fiber is also critical for optimal gut health.
Healthy fats: The Mediterranean Diet is a moderate-fat diet. That means, it's not low fat at all! However, the fats are primarily derived from sources like olive oil, nuts, and fish, which are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats can be more satiating and may help control appetite. They are also important for brain health.
Moderate portion sizes: The Mediterranean diet emphasizes portion control and mindful eating. One of the pillars of a Mediterranean Lifestyle is enjoying meals with others, away from distractions like screens. This can help prevent overeating and contribute to weight management. It's also a great way to find more enjoyment overall!
What if I have been eating a low-carb diet?
If you have been eating a low-carbohydrate diet, the Mediterranean Diet could be an awesome option for you! As mentioned above, the Mediterranean Diet has been shown by studies to promote long-term weight loss, even when compared to a low-carbohydrate diet.
When you first start, we recommend you make a gradual change.
Transitioning gradually can make the process so much easier and more enjoyable.
Start by slowly reintroducing moderate amounts of carbohydrates into your diet, such as whole grains, legumes, and fruits. Yum! Gradually reduce your fat intake from very high levels to more moderate levels typical of the Mediterranean diet. Same with meat intake-- reduce little by little. Replace any sugar substitutes with water or water flavored with a bit of fruit juice.
Remember that if you do see the scale fluctuate a few pounds at first, your body is likely just adjusting to a whole new way of living. Soon enough, the Mediterranean Diet will feel natural to you.
Conclusion for "Will I gain weight on a Mediterranean Diet?"
As we mentioned about, it's important to note that weight management is influenced by various factors, including individual metabolism, activity level, and overall lifestyle.
If you have specific concerns about weight gain or weight loss, it's recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian who can provide personalized guidance based on your individual needs and circumstances.
Curious about Weight Loss & The Mediterranean Diet?
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