Dieting today may still positively affect your health years from now. That’s what a recent study conducted by Ben Gurion University and the Nuclear Research Center in Dimona, Israel, has shown.
Even if some weight has been regained, the benefits of diets like the Mediterranean or low-carb diet can last years.
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The study was a follow-up of a study conducted six years ago over 24 months where Mediterranean, low-carb and low-fat diets were introduced to a group of 322 moderately obese people. “Our follow up subsequent data shows lasting, positive effects of Mediterranean and low-carbohydrate diets six years later,” says Dr. Dan Schwarzfuchs from the Nuclear Research Center.
Although some participants regained part of the weight they had lost, the research shows that many of the health benefits remained. “Data from trials comparing the effectiveness of weight-loss diets are frequently limited to the intervention period,” explained Dr. Iris Shay, a researcher at BGU. “The results after four years suggests that the lipid profile (lower cholesterol, triglycerides and arteriosclerosis) improved over the long term, regardless of partial regain,” says Rachel Golan, another BGU researcher.
When it comes to weight loss, the Mediterranean diet takes the cake: on average, participants who went on it lost 3.1kg, as opposed to 1.7kg lost by people on the low-carb diet. Also, since participants regained an average of 2.7kg after the diet period, only the ones on the Mediterranean diet have actually stayed slimmer.
The researchers also found that after six years, the HDL/LDL (“good” and “bad” cholesterol) ratio remained significantly lower only in the low-carbohydrate diet. Triglyceride levels remained significantly lower in the Mediterranean and low-carbohydrate diets. Overall, total cholesterol levels remained persistently and significantly lower in all diet groups as compared to the baseline.
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