Mediterranean Diet Review: Does It Work for Weight Loss?

Medically Reviewed on 8/9/2022
Mediterranean Diet Review: Does It Work for Weight Loss
The Mediterranean diet can help with weight loss when combined with calorie reduction and portion control

The Mediterranean diet has long been regarded as one of the healthiest diets because it is high in nutrient-dense foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. It is often recommended for heart health and diabetes management.

In addition to being heart-healthy and diabetes-friendly, the Mediterranean diet can also help with weight loss when combined with calorie reduction and portion control.

What foods can you eat on the Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet focuses on the following foods:

  • Olive oil (rich in omega-3 fatty acids)
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Fish (at least a couple of times a week)
  • Chicken
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Herbs and spices
  • Occasional, eggs, red meat, and a glass of wine
  • Cheese and yogurt in moderation

How does the Mediterranean diet help with weight loss?

Here are some potential reasons why the Mediterranean diet may work for weight loss:

  • High in protein: Many of the foods in the Mediterranean diet are rich in plant-based protein, which keeps you fuller for longer and maintains steady blood sugar levels. This can help you avoid overeating.
  • Emphasizes fiber-rich foods: The diet focuses on eating fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Fiber also promotes satiety and can help you reduce your overall calorie intake.
  • Sustainable and easy to follow: Unlike other diets, the Mediterranean diet is not overly restrictive. Instead, the diet focuses on enjoying meals. Because of this, many people find it easier to stick to the diet for the long term.
  • Focused on changing habits: The Mediterranean diet calls for changing overall eating habits, such as avoiding processed foods, refined grains, and added sugars. It also emphasizes the importance of regular exercise.

Studies have also shown that the Mediterranean diet may help with weight loss:

  • A study published in the Lancet reported that people who followed the Mediterranean diet lost more weight than those who followed a low-fat diet.
  • A study published in the American Journal of Medicine suggested that the Mediterranean diet is an effective long-term weight management diet.
  • Another study published in the American Journal of Medicine suggests that if the Mediterranean diet pattern is introduced and followed throughout childhood, it can prevent obesity and weight gain later in life.


Weight loss occurs in the belly before anywhere else. See Answer

6 ways to lose weight with the Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is not a quick fix for weight loss. Instead, it is a lifestyle that involves eating healthy foods in moderation and engaging in regular exercise. Here are 6 tips for following the diet for weight loss:

1. Focus on lifestyle changes

Paying attention to lifestyle changes, such as changing your portion sizes and exercising regularly, is the only way to see long-term weight loss results:

  • Set realistic and measurable goals
  • Make small changes that stick

2. Keep track of your calorie intake

You cannot lose weight if you consume more calories than you burn. In order to lose weight, you will need to calculate your calorie deficit depending on factors such as your age, sex, and fitness level.

3. Eat balanced meals

When you consume a healthy balance of fiber-rich foods and healthy fats, your body will naturally feel satiated. Make sure to eat a wide variety of low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods that fulfill your nutritional needs for protein, fat, and fiber,

4. Exercise on a regular basis

Exercise is essential for weight reduction and is an important part of the Mediterranean diet. Examples of physical activities that can help you lose weight include walking, swimming, cycling, and strength training.

5. Avoid skipping meals

Make sure you do not miss meals or go more than 5 hours without eating. Eat a meal or snack every 3-5 hours.

6. Manage stress

Stress can disrupt your weight loss efforts. Find ways to manage or reduce your stress by getting enough sleep and practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation.

What are the benefits of the Mediterranean diet?

Helps with weight loss

Because it is low in calories and high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats, the Mediterranean diet can promote satiety and reduce cravings, which can help you shed excess weight or maintain a healthy weight.

The Mediterranean diet may not help you lose as many pounds as other diets, but it is nutritious, balanced, and sustainable.

Improves heart health

The Mediterranean diet is recommended by the American Heart Association as a heart-healthy eating pattern due to its high concentration of good fats, fiber, antioxidants, and fiber. Some studies report that following the diet can lower blood pressure and (bad) cholesterol and increase high-density lipoprotein (good) cholesterol, which can reduce the risk of heart disease.

Promotes brain health

According to some studies, the Mediterranean diet can improve cognitive performance, decrease the risk of dementia, and slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease. These potential benefits are most likely because the diet provides antioxidant protection and supports healthy blood sugar levels. Omega-3 fatty acids foods also can enhance brain health.

Helps control blood sugar levels

The Mediterranean diet can help people with diabetes maintain steady blood sugar levels, reduce insulin resistance, and lower the risk of type II diabetes

Good for digestion

The Mediterranean diet is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which are beneficial for gut health. These nutrients feed good bacteria in the gut and lower inflammation. Studies have shown that people who follow a plant-heavy Mediterranean diet have better gut health.

Lowers cancer risk

The Mediterranean diet can help lower cancer risk due to its high antioxidant content, which can help protect cells from damage and inhibit the production of cancer-causing free radicals. The diet has been linked to a decreased risk of many cancers, including breast, colorectal, pancreatic, and prostate cancer.

How to follow the Mediterranean diet

Table. Daily recommended values of foods in the Mediterranean diet
Food Amount
Vegetables (daily) 2½ cups
Fruits (daily) 2½ cups
Nuts, seeds (weekly) 5 oz
Beans, peas (weekly) 1½ cup
Grains (daily) 6 oz
Dairy (daily) 2 cups
Protein (daily) 6½ oz
Oils (daily) 6 teaspoons


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