Have you become frustrated by seeing a lack of results, after you've tried many weight loss methods? Or, have you shed pounds with diet and exercise but then put some of the weight back on? If so, then don't worry, because you've still improved your health. According to a recent study conducted by scientists from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Israel's Nuclear Research Center, low-carb and Mediterranean diets have long-lasting positive health effects, even if you put some pounds back on.
The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, as a follow-up to previous research that came to similar conclusions. These findings highlight the importance of eating a healthy diet, even if it doesn't always give you the weight loss results you want.
The scientists followed 322 individuals who originally participated in a study that examined the effects of the Mediterranean diet, a low-carb diet and a low-fat diet to see if they could help these people lose weight and improve their overall health.
Six years after the initial study, the researchers found that even if the individuals on the Mediterranean or low-carb diets regained some of the initial weight they lost, they still had significantly better cholesterol levels. This is extremely important for cardiovascular health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one out of every six Americans has high cholesterol, which may increase their risk of experiencing a cardiovascular problem. These findings suggest that eating a low-carb or Mediterranean diet may help these individuals improve their cholesterol levels and improve their heart health.
"This breakthrough, even years later, continues to yield valuable information that can help every one of us make healthier diet choices," said Doron Krakow, executive vice president of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
The right kind of fat
Both a low-carb and a Mediterranean diet revolve around the concept of "good" fats. Some people may mistakenly believe that all fat is bad, but that's simply not true. In fact, certain fats are necessary for brain health and overall well-being.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the Mediterranean diet has fewer meats and carbohydrates, and includes more plant-based foods and monounsaturated (good) fat, compared to the traditional Western diet. Some of the staples of this eating plan are fish and nuts, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy lipid. This diet also encourages you to use olive oil whenever possible instead of butter. While the latter contains unhealthy, artery-clogging saturated fats, olive oil has omega-3s and is the much better choice.
You won't find a great deal of eggs or red meat in a Mediterranean diet. This is good if you're trying to improve your cholesterol levels, since a study conducted earlier this year showed that consuming egg yolks can be as dangerous to your arteries as smoking.
Cut that cholesterol
The Mayo Clinic has a list of foods that you should consider consuming if you want to improve your cholesterol levels. For example, you want to be sure to get plenty of fiber, which can be found in oatmeal, oat bran and whole grain bread. You'll want to get five to 10 grams or more of soluble fiber a day, which really isn't that much. According to the Clinic, one-and-a-half cups of cooked oatmeal can deliver 6 grams of soluble fiber.
Also, you want to be sure to get regular physical activity in order to maintain a healthy weight and keep your cholesterol levels low. Weight management can be difficult, but following a Mediterranean diet can be a delicious way to help keep yourself trim.