Mediterranean Diet vs Keto Diet: Which One Is Better For Losing Weight?

mediterranean diet vs ketomediterranean diet vs keto

The Most Efficient Weight Loss Diet

Due to a vast variety of weight loss methods, it may be difficult to choose one that would fit you perfectly. No matter what your goal is, whether it is shedding pounds, maintaining your weight, or growing muscle mass, you need a diet that would work best for you. In such a case, you may want to try some of the most popular diets nowadays, such as the Mediterranean and Keto diet. But before getting down to dieting, let’s first find out the difference between the Mediterranean diet vs. the Keto diet, and which is better for your weight loss.

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What Is The Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet is a very popular nutritional plan that promotes sustainable weight loss and improved cardiovascular health. This diet is not very limiting and has no single list of requirements. It is overall balanced and usually includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean meat, low-fat dairy, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and olive oil (15).

Health Benefits Of The Mediterranean Diet

Being as balanced and healthy as it is, the Mediterranean diet can offer you many health benefits, among which are the following:

  • Improved Heart Health

The Mediterranean diet takes its name from the meal plans of Mediterranean countries such as Greece and Italy. The reason why people began to take interest in the nutritional plans of these countries is because of their relatively low death rate caused by coronary heart disease. With further research, scientists found the link between the decreased risk factors of heart disease and the Mediterranean diet (15), which made even more people eager to try it out.

Following a Mediterranean diet can help your body control cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease (16). This nutritional plan has been advocated as a method of fighting and preventing diseases such as type II diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease.

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  • mediterranean diet vs ketomediterranean diet vs ketoFighting Diabetes

As was mentioned before, the Mediterranean diet may be effective at helping you fight diabetes. Research shows that people who follow this nutritional plan have a significantly lower risk of type II diabetes (18). So, if you are at the risk of developing this disease, please consult a doctor, and perhaps this diet may help you prevent that condition.

  • Improving Sleep Quality

Following a Mediterranean diet may be a great choice for those who have trouble with sleep. A study suggests that sticking to this nutritional plan may improve sleep quality in older adults. However, it didn’t affect young people’s quality of sleep (3).

Risks Of The Mediterranean Diet

Although it is balanced and has many health benefits to offer, the Mediterranean diet is not a flawless nutritional plan and has its risks.

Here are the possible health concerns associated with this nutrition approach (14):

  • Reduced Iron Levels

There is a possibility that you may have reduced iron levels. If you want to follow a Mediterranean diet, make sure to eat enough foods rich in iron and vitamin C, which plays one of the key roles in the absorption of this mineral.

  • Decreased Bone Density

When following a Mediterranean diet, you are to consume fewer dairy products. This may lead to a lack of calcium and decreased bone density. In such an instance, consult with your doctor to determine whether you need to take a calcium supplement.

  • Drinking Alcohol

Mediterranean diet is somewhat famous for its absence of restriction of wine. This alcoholic drink is a common part of this nutritional plan. So, if you want to follow an authentic Mediterranean diet, you may want to occasionally drain a glass of wine during dinner. If you are pregnant, sensitive to alcohol misuse, or have any conditions that ban alcohol, please avoid the consumption of wine. Always remember to drink alcohol with moderation.

mediterranean diet vs ketomediterranean diet vs ketoMediterranean Diet: What To Eat And What To Avoid?

Compared to some other nutritional plans, the Mediterranean diet is more focused on plant-based foods. That is why oftentimes you will find that your meal consists, partly or fully, of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. This diet also recommends using healthy fats, like olive oil, and lots of spices when you prepare your meal.

Here are the rules of the Mediterranean diet (15):

  • Most of your meal plan takes up plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats.
  • Less often, but still, regularly, you should consume lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and beans.
  • You can consume dairy products, but only low-fat and in moderate amounts.
  • You should limit your consumption of red meat.
  • You are allowed to drink red wine, but don’t go overboard with it.

Read More: Gluten Free Mediterranean Diet: The Combo No One Knew We Needed

What To Eat On The Mediterranean Diet?

Now that you know the main rules of the Mediterranean diet, it is time to figure out what you are allowed to eat when following this nutritional plan.

Here are the foods that you can include in your Mediterranean diet meals (19):

  • A great variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
  • Healthful fats such as nuts, seeds, and olive oil
  • Moderate amounts of dairy, eggs, and fish
  • Small amounts of meat and poultry
  • Occasional consumption of red wine

foods to avoid on mediterranean dietfoods to avoid on mediterranean dietWhat To Avoid On The Mediterranean Diet?

Although the Mediterranean diet is not very restrictive, it has its limitations, such as the following (19):

  • Refined grains, like white bread, white pasta, and pizza dough containing white flour
  • Saturated fat like coconut oil, butter, and whole milk
  • Foods with added sugars, such as pastries, sodas, and candies
  • Deli meats, hot dogs, and other processed meats
  • Processed or packaged foods

How To Follow The Mediterranean Diet?

There’s no single Mediterranean diet plan rule, but in general, you should eat lots of fruits and vegetables, beans and nuts, healthy grains, fish, olive oil, small amounts of lean meat, and dairy. Although it focuses primarily on plant foods, other ingredients like poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy can also be enjoyed in moderation.

When starting to follow a Mediterranean diet, first off, make sure that you have everything you need to prepare your meals beforehand. You should always have pantry staples like olive oil, whole grains, pasta, tuna, and canned tomatoes. Go shopping for fresh foods a couple of times a week. Carefully choose your method of food preparation, and instead of frying, opt for grilling and steaming. Planning your snacks won’t be a problem. Have something simple and quick like fresh fruit, a scoop of nuts, etc. (21).

Following a Mediterranean diet also encourages regular workouts, meal sharing, and enjoying it all.

mediterranean diet vs ketomediterranean diet vs ketoWhat Is The Keto Diet?

Now that you know what the Mediterranean diet is, to be able to compare the Mediterranean diet vs. the Keto diet, you need to understand what the Keto diet is all about. In general, the Keto diet, or the ketogenic diet, is a low-carb and high-fat diet. Its main goal is to make you get into ketosis stage. It is a state where your body begins to burn the deposited fat to obtain energy because it doesn’t get enough from carbohydrates. During that process, the human body is breaking down fat into molecules called ketone bodies.

Once your body enters the state of ketosis, most of your cells will start using ketone bodies to produce energy until you start consuming carbohydrates again. Initially, the Keto diet was used as a method of diabetes management. A bit later, it was then used as an epilepsy treatment for children (12).

The ketogenic diet has also been tested and used in closely monitored settings for its positive impact on some diseases.

Health Benefits Of The Keto Diet

Some of the main health benefits of this nutritional plan are as follows:

  • Improved Brain Function

A 2019 study implies that following the Keto diet can strengthen and protect a person’s brain and nerve cells, such as helping a person avoid or control conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. However, these implications are not supported by human studies (11).

  • Reduced Seizures

As was already mentioned, the Keto diet was used as a method of epilepsy treatment in children (5). The Epilepsy Foundation suggests that ketosis can reduce seizures in people with epilepsy, especially those who have not responded to other treatment methods. More research is necessary on how effective this is, though it seems to have the most effect on children who have focal seizures. This procedure is usually closely monitored by a neurologist and a dietitian (9).

  • mediterranean diet vs ketomediterranean diet vs ketoImproved Heart Health

A review of studies of animals and humans on a Keto diet showed that some people experienced a significant drop in levels of total cholesterol, bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides, and an increase in good cholesterol (HDL). High levels of cholesterol can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Lower cholesterol levels related to a ketogenic diet may, therefore, reduce a person’s risk of heart complications (8).

Risks Of The Keto Diet

Even though it has significant health benefits, the Keto diet also has risks and side effects, like the following (13):

  • Keto Flu

People who start following a Keto diet may experience a set of certain unpleasant side-effects, which is often called “the keto flu”. Some of the symptoms are exhaustion, dizziness, constipation, migraine, bad breath, mood swing, insomnia, nausea, and vomiting. Although with time, the keto flu passes, it can be a very unpleasant experience for a short amount of time.

  • Nutrient Deficiencies

A Keto diet is a very low-carb diet, which also requires you to avoid a lot of foods rich in carbs that can provide you with other vital nutrients such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This can lead to various nutrient deficiencies, which in turn cause other health problems. That is why, if you want to start following a Keto diet, you need to make sure that you get all the essential nutrients from your meals, or consult a doctor or a dietitian and discuss taking nutrient supplements.

  • Other Risks

Other potential risks of the Keto diet include kidney stones, acute kidney injury, and cardiac arrhythmia.

healthy nutritionhealthy nutritionKeto Diet: What To Eat And What To Avoid?

The Keto diet requires you to limit your consumption of carbs to 20-50 grams a day, which is around one big potato and a pound (half of a kilogram) of vegetables. To be able to obtain all the necessary nutrients from your food, your menu should include all varieties of foods.

Read More: What Is Dirty Keto Diet: Demystifying The What’s, Why’s And How’s

Here is the list of foods that are relatively not that rich in carbs and can be included in your Keto meal plan (4):

Foods To Eat On The Keto Diet

  • Fish and Seafood
  • Vegetables (greens such as spinach, Brussels sprouts and kale)
  • Avocados
  • Full-fat cheese
  • Eggs (pastured, organic)

Foods To Avoid On The Keto Diet

  • Most fruits (grapes and banana)
  • Grains and starches
  • Processed foods
  • Sweets and sugary foods (sugar, ice cream, candy)
  • Most beans and legumes

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keto after 60keto after 60How To Follow The Keto Diet?

The Keto diet is very low in carbohydrates, high in fat, and moderate in protein. By following a keto meal plan, you’ll be seriously limiting your carbohydrate intake, which is why you need to prepare for it properly. How do you make practical preparations in stocking your fridge and preparing mentally for the big change to come?

Here are some tips to help you with that (10):

  • Decide on a date, to be able to prepare all you need beforehand. 
  • Clean your pantry and refrigerator from high-carb foods that can kick you out of the ketosis, and substitute them with keto-friendly foods and beverages.
  • Plan your meals for the week. This will help you make sure that your diet is balanced, you obtain all the necessary nutrients from food, and you can save time when you are busy or tired and don’t have time to plan them properly.
  • When shopping, carefully read the labels to make sure that this food won’t exceed your allowed daily amount of carbs and kick you out of ketosis.
  • If you are usually busy, prepare meals beforehand and refrigerate or freeze them.
  • If you often feel hungry, try increasing the number of meals to five or six and reduce their size. This will provide you with the same amount of nutrients while satisfying your occasional hunger pangs.
  • Drink lots of fluids and supplement with electrolytes to avoid the before-mentioned keto flu and its unpleasant symptoms in the early stages of a diet.
  • If you feel a lack of energy, you may want to reduce your levels of exercise during the first two weeks of assimilation to the diet.
  • If you notice that you don’t meet the daily nutrient requirements, consult with a doctor or a dietitian, and consider taking supplements.

Keto Vs. Mediterranean Diet For Weight Loss

Now that you know what each diet has to offer, what are their benefits, risks, and requirements, it is time to compare the Mediterranean diet vs. the Keto diet for weight loss.

Mediterranean Diet For Weight Loss

The Mediterranean diet is an overall healthy lifestyle that offers a great number of benefits, including weight loss. It encourages the consumption of a lot of plant foods, which are relatively low in calories, and limits the intake of refined foods and added sugars that mostly provide empty calories. This can result in a successful and healthy weight loss. Incorporating regular physical exercises into such a lifestyle can bring even better weight loss results.

The authors of a systematic review of the Mediterranean Diet for long-term weight loss found that people who were overweight or suffered from obesity lost more weight on the Mediterranean diet than on a low-fat diet, resulting in up to 22 pounds (10 kg) of weight loss over 1 year. The Mediterranean diet group achieved results similar to those of the participants on other standard weight-loss diets (20).

Another study showed that long-term adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with a decreased risk of gaining weight and belly fat over 5 years (1).

So, you can conclude that following a Mediterranean diet could help you slim down a couple of sizes since it has been proven to be effective at weight loss. However, its results are not much greater than those of other diets (20).

mediterranean diet vs ketomediterranean diet vs ketoKeto Diet For Weight Loss

A Keto diet is often used as a weight-loss tool. It reduces your consumption of carbs and promotes weight loss by improving your metabolism and fighting your appetite. A 2015 systematic review noted that when a person follows a keto diet, they consume foods that can increase the feeling of satiety and decrease the appetite-inducing hormones. Such an effect promotes weight loss (7). The weight loss results of people who followed a Keto diet are greater than those of low-fat diet followers. However, in the long run, the Keto diet may not be that great since it can be difficult to follow and restrictive, and it encourages the consumption of foods that can be unhealthy (12).

Differences And Similarities Of Mediterranean Diet Vs. Keto Diet

As you can see, both diets are effective at weight loss and can help you shed a couple of unwanted pounds. But you may ask, which one is better? Is it the high-fiber Mediterranean diet or limited carbs and encouraging fat consumption of the Keto diet? If you compare the Mediterranean diet vs. the Keto diet in terms of weight loss, the first is more gradual, while the second is a bit more rapid. If you compare which eating approach is healthier, then the first takes the lead. The Mediterranean diet is more balanced and sustainable in the long run without causing any significant health concerns. On the other hand, the Keto diet drastically limits carbs, which are often healthy and vital for you.

Despite them being so different, there is something that these two nutritional plans have in common, and that is the absence of a strict single meal plan. This means that you can adjust the meal plan according to your preference, making sure that you get the most from your diet while still following its rules (17).

The Bottom Line: Mediterranean Diet Vs. Keto Diet, Which Is Better For You? 

Now, the final question: “Mediterranean diet vs. Keto diet, which is better for you?” The answer to this question lies in what your goal is. If you are hoping for rapid weight loss, then the Keto diet is your choice here. If you seek a more gradual and healthy method to slim down, then the Mediterranean diet is what you need.

When it comes to losing weight, however you do it, it will always have its health risks, which is why it is essential to ask your doctor or dietitian to help you define which plan suits you best.

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