Many people tend to compare Keto vs Mediterranean Diet when looking for a diet for weight loss. These two are similar in many ways and are both effective in helping people lose weight.
Proponents of the keto diet claim that it helps to reduce appetite and increases the body’s fat-burning abilities. Meanwhile, the Mediterranean diet encourages eating nutrient-rich foods to promote weight loss.
Related reading: Mediterranean Low Carb Diet | How Does It Work?
While both diets are used for weight loss, they also come with many health benefits, such as improved heart health and minimizing diabetes risk.
In this article, we’ll compare Keto vs Mediterranean Diet to help you decide which diet can work best for you.
Related reading: Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet: Better than Keto for Fat Loss?
Keto Diet in A Nutshell
The modern keto diet is currently one of the world’s most popular diets, which for most no longer needs an introduction. But if you don’t know, keto involves restricting your carb consumption in favor of fats.
In doing so, your body will enter the state of ketosis, where it starts using fats for fuel instead of sugar. As Scott Keatley, RD, of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy, has said,
“This eating plan is all about minimizing your carbs and upping your fats to get your body to use fat as a form of energy.”
A typical keto diet eliminates many high-carb foods, including many fruits, starchy veggies, and grains. Foods laden with high amounts of sugar must be avoided, such as baked goods, candies, desserts, and sugary drinks.
Instead, the ketogenic diet focuses on eating foods low in carbs and high in healthy fats. This includes dairy products, good quality animal proteins, healthy oils, grass-fed butter, and non-starchy veggies.
Related reading: Best Carbs to Eat for Weight Loss
Want to get started on keto? Check out my Keto Jumpstart Program.
What Is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional dietary patterns of countries in the Mediterranean, such as Spain, Greece, and Italy. People from these regions are less likely to suffer from heart diseases and cancer than those from the US and other regions.
Proponents of the diet believe that the diet is the key to achieving optimal health. According to Cory Ruth, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist,
“The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fats that are good for your heart, whole grains, nuts or seeds, fruits or vegetables, legumes, and seafood.”
While no foods are excluded from the Mediterranean Diet, certain foods must be limited. For instance, red meat like pork, beef, and lamb, should only be enjoyed occasionally. You should instead turn to other foods for protein, such as seafood, poultry, and legumes.
Like keto, the Mediterranean Diet limits the consumption of sweets and processed foods, including refined grains, processed meat products, and sugar-rich foods. In addition, sugary beverages have to be avoided, including sweet tea, soda, and sports drinks.
Benefits of Mediterranean and Keto Diets
When you search Keto vs Mediterranean Diet online, you’ll find that both diets are associated with several health benefits, which include the following:
Improved Heart Health
The Mediterranean Diet’s biggest benefit is its ability to improve heart health. A review of some studies shows that the Mediterranean diet can lower the risk of heart diseases and stroke.
Further studies also reveal that the Mediterranean Diet can help lower blood pressure levels and prevent plaque buildup in arteries. Both are essential for preventing heart diseases.
On the other hand, research regarding the link between keto and heart health has mixed results. Some studies show that keto could potentially minimize low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol.
But it’s worth noting that keto’s ability to lower the LDL level depends on several factors. Some studies have found that keto may actually increase bad cholesterol levels and cause a buildup of plaque. This could eventually reduce or even block blood flow to your heart.
The effects of the keto diet on heart health will also depend on the type of foods you eat. Since keto is a high-fat diet, some following the diet include intensively reared fatty meats and processed meats that could increase one’s risk for heart diseases.
The reason for this can be due to the fact that the fatty acid content of intensively reared animals differs considerably from grass-fed animals. The ratio of omega 6 to 3 is unbalanced in the intensively reared animals. Genetics and other lifestyle factors may also play a part.
To lower the risk of heart disease while following the keto diet, minimize the consumption of processed foods high in saturated and trans fats. Instead, opt for plant-based foods with a higher level of unsaturated fats.
Blood Sugar Management
Several studies show that both Keto and Mediterranean diets help manage diabetes. In a trial done for the two low carb diets, both diets were found to be effective at controlling blood sugar.
Both diets show favorable results in controlling blood glucose levels and helping with weight loss. However, the ketogenic diet has lower nutrients, especially fiber. As a result, it was more difficult for participants to follow in the long run. This was according to findings published May 31 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Related reading: Fiber on Keto – Why Is It So Important?
Both the Keto and Mediterranean Diets support insulin sensitivity. In fact, a study found that both low- diets are similar to the Mediterranean diet in preventing insulin resistance. Insulin resistance refers to a condition that limits the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels.
Keto vs Mediterranean Diet – Which is Better for Weight Loss?
Although no research was done directly comparing Keto vs Mediterranean Diet in their ability to lose weight, both diets are believed to help promote weight loss.
Related reading: 5 Factor Diet | Is it Better for Weight Loss than a Low Carb Diet?
One study found that the Mediterranean diet has resulted in up to 10 kg weight loss after a year. On the other hand, a study done on 32 obese people found that those following a low carb diet lost 58% more weight in four weeks compared to those following the Mediterranean diet.
But, it’s worth noting that both groups experienced reductions in belly fat and overall fat mass. In addition, the low carb diet consisted of 30% of carbs, more than what is usually required on a keto diet.
Based on the comparison of the Keto vs Mediterranean Diet above, it’s clear that both diets are effective for weight loss. In addition, both diets come with potential health benefits. Both can help to improve heart health and blood sugar management.
When deciding which diet to follow, choose the diet you believe you can sustain for the long term. The Mediterranean Diet is not as restrictive as keto and may be more sustainable in the long run. But, you’ll likely achieve faster weight loss results with keto if you can strictly lower your carb consumption to less than 50 grams each day.