The best diets for long-term health, according to new study

Intermittent fasting might help you lose weight, but it's more of a short-term diet. [Photo: Getty]
Intermittent fasting might help you lose weight, but it's more of a short-term diet. [Photo: Getty]

While intermittent fasting might be good to drop weight fast, experts have concluded that the Mediterranean diet is better for our long term health - and easier to stick to.

One of the main considerations of the study was to look at how long we stick to our diets.

Although the 5:2 and paleo diets worked, the restrictions of the diets made them harder to stick to over a sustained period of time.

The research analysed 250 people on different diets over 12 months. Six in ten people on the Med diet stuck to it for the whole year.

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Over half of participants stuck to the 5:2 diet and only 35% of people managed to see out the year on the paleo plan.

People on the Med diet will eat a lot of vegetables, nuts, beans, cereals and fish - as well as products made from vegetable oils.

They’ll also look to cut down on their intake of meat and dairy.

The 5:2 diet involves eating regularly for five days and fasting (500 calories maximum) for two days.

The Paleo diet is also referred to as the “caveman” diet because it involves a lot of foods that could have been obtained by hunting and gathering.

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The Med diet wasn’t just about dropping the pounds, it has other health benefits too. Everything from glucose levels to blood pressure was tested and there was a marked improvement with both.

These factors contribute to the reduction of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Co-lead author Dr Melyssa Roy said: “In the real world, the one right way to lose weight and eat right is that you can find what suits you the best, and whatever diet is the best is the one you stick to.

“If you choose something that suits you, and is basically a selection of healthy foods, and perhaps eating a bit less often, you can actually get real-world benefits and just live a normal life, and lose weight and see improvements in your health.”

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The study found that those who did manage to stick to the 5:2 diet managed to lose a little more weight over the course of the year than those on the Med diet.

People on the Med diet lost an average of 6 pounds over a year and those on the 5:2 diet lost 9 pounds on average.

The idea of the research was to look at how the diets worked in a real setting - that meant no help from dieticians or outside influences.

They were given advice on how to stick to the diet and then left to their own devices to see whether or not they could see out the year.

Overall, it found that there isn’t a single “right” diet, but more a range of options for people to give a go, depending on their personality type.

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