You are in a quest for weight loss now, and you are looking for the best and most suitable diet to adopt into your lifestyle. Mediterranean Diet vs Dash Diet are popular options that have been ranked by many sources as some of the healthiest diet programs available today. So, let’s take a deeper look into each of them to see whether these diet programs are good for you or not!
Continue reading to find out more information about:
- Where Mediterranean Diet and Dash Diet come from
- How each of these diet programs is performed
- What foods that are allowed or disallowed in each diet program
- The benefits of Mediterranean Diet vs Dash Diet
- Any potential side effect or inconvenience with each diet program
- Which diet program that is generally more recommended
Mediterranean Diet: Overview
The Mediterranean Diet has gained reputation as one of the healthiest diet programs in the world. Categorizing it as a diet program is a little pretentious because it is actually based on a traditional eating pattern of people in several Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Italy, and Spain – hence the name. See also: Optavia vs Optifast
Researchers noticed that fewer people in the said countries experienced chronic disease compared to people in Northern Europe and the United States, and they believed that this was due to the differences in dietary habits. Then, after carefully observing the eating pattern and the foods consumed, a diet program that would be known as the Mediterranean Diet was constructed.
Nowadays, many people have followed the Mediterranean Diet because it is flexible and quite easy to follow, it offers a wide variety of flavorful foods, and it promises a number of health benefits. Unlike most other diet programs, the Mediterranean Diet is focused on specific foods and categories of foods instead of just counting calories or tracking nutrients.
Foods like fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats are prioritized in the Mediterranean Diet. Meanwhile, less healthy foods like sweets, red meat, and processed ingredients are cut-off. Health benefits that have been associated with the Mediterranean Diet include weight loss, reduced risk of chronic disease, and decreased inflammation.
Mediterranean Diet: How It Goes
One notable difference between Mediterranean Diet vs Dash Diet is whether they count calories or not. In the case of the Mediterranean Diet, you won’t need to burden your mind with the counting and tracking of your calories throughout the day because this diet program is totally focused on what you may and what you may not eat. That said, it doesn’t mean that you may eat something in an excessive amount just because the food is allowed.
As mentioned above, the Mediterranean Diet is emphasized on healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, and healthy fats. These foods are rich in nutrients. Although most of the allowed foods are plant foods, the Mediterranean Diet also allows you to consume eggs, poultry, seafood, and dairy products in moderate amounts.
The things that you have to avoid in the Mediterranean Diet are foods containing added sugar, processed foods, sugar-sweetened drinks, and refined grains. Only certain types of alcohol are allowed, such as red wine, and these are also allowed with moderation; you may only take one or two servings in a day.
Besides changing your dietary habits, the Mediterranean Diet also requires you to engage in physical activity. Common exercise like running, bicycling, lifting weights, rowing, or playing sports should be added to your routine.
Mediterranean Diet: Effectiveness
So, how is the effectiveness of Mediterranean Diet vs Dash Diet? Before we go into the straight comparison, keep in mind that the goals of these two diet programs are slightly different. The Mediterranean Diet is aimed at improving and maintaining overall well-being as well as weight loss, whereas the Dash Diet, as you will see below, is mainly for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease with weight loss only as a side benefit.
The Mediterranean Diet is effective for weight loss, as shown in several studies. It can reduce your body weight by about 10 kg (22 lb) within a year.
Then, by maintaining the healthy lifestyle, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of re-gaining weight or belly fat over the years. The reason behind the weight loss effect is the change from unhealthy foods (like fast-food meals and sugary drinks that many people like to consume) to healthy foods, along with the exercise routine.
The Mediterranean Diet has also been shown to improve cardiovascular health. Although this diet program is not really meant to prevent heart disease, the foods consumed in the Mediterranean Diet are indeed beneficial for improving heart health.
The Mediterranean Diet can also protect against type-2 diabetes and chronic inflammation. Nuts and olive oil can help regulate cholesterol and blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Mediterranean Diet: Any Side Effect?
The Mediterranean Diet does not have any real health risk. However, there are still a few things that you may need to consider.
Firstly, the Mediterranean Diet encourages the consumption of certain types of alcohol, such as red wine. While a low to moderate amount of alcohol consumption can give health benefits, pregnant women and people with a history of addiction should avoid it nonetheless.
Secondly, the Mediterranean Diet restricts processed and refined foods. Thus, people who have been used to these foods may find the diet program somewhat difficult to follow. Not to mention that some protein sources encouraged by the diet program, such as seafood, tend to be more costly than other protein sources.
Dash Diet: Overview
“DASH” stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension”. It is quite self-explanatory. The Dash Diet is designed to fight high blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The Dash Diet has been endorsed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in order to reduce the number of people with hypertension. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is affecting billions of people worldwide. Hypertension is a serious health concern because it is linked to heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure.
Dietary habits play a significant role in the development of hypertension. High-sodium and high-cholesterol foods are major contributing factors. Because of this, experts have created the Dash Diet for people who want to prevent or treat hypertension. The Dash Diet restricts sodium intake and regulates what food that you may or may not eat based on your caloric requirement.
One side benefit of the Dash Diet is weight loss. If you have high blood pressure, you probably have been advised to lose weight. The reason is, the higher you weigh, the higher your blood pressure can be. Reducing weight is beneficial for lowering blood pressure. The Dash Diet can help in that regard.
Dash Diet: How It Goes
The Dash Diet puts emphasize on fruits and vegetables. It also allows lean protein foods such as fish, chicken, and beans. Meanwhile, foods with red meat, fat, added sugar, or salt may be consumed, but in low amounts.
The key aspect of the Dash Diet is the control of sodium intake. Experts believe that lowering salt intake can reduce blood pressure. Thus, this diet program does not allow sodium intake more than 2,300 mg per day. Indeed, it is in-line with the national guideline for hypertension prevention and treatment. There is also a lower-salt version of the Dash Diet that allows no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.
The Dash Diet recommends specific numbers of servings according to your caloric requirement. The average adult should follow a 2,000-calorie diet. However, if you are an athlete or a worker that is involved in heavy physical activity, you should consume more calories in order to have enough energy.
Dash Diet: Effectiveness
Dash Diet has been proven to be effective for treating high blood pressure. Studies have shown that people with the lowest salt intake levels experience the biggest reductions in blood pressure.
However, the benefits of the Dash Diet are not as clear for people who already have normal blood pressure. At the very least, the Dash Diet is definitely useful for preventing hypertension on this group of people.
By treating hypertension, the Dash Diet can help to prevent cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. The Dash Diet can also aid in weight loss. Some people who have undergone this diet program do experience weight loss.
However, you should not expect the Dash Diet alone to be effective for helping you shed pounds from your body weight. Weight loss is simply a secondary benefit to the main purpose of the diet program.
Dash Diet: Any Side Effect?
Before committing to the Dash Diet, you should evaluate your sodium intake. While eating too much salt is bad for your health, eating too little salt may also cause some health problems like fluid retention, heart disease, and insulin resistance.
But most people nowadays eat too much salt anyway, so you probably don’t need to worry. Salt may come from processed foods, snacks, and even drinks that you consume.
Just like the Mediterranean Diet, the Dash Diet restricts processed and refined foods, so some people may need some time to get used to the diet program. However, the Dash Diet does allow red meat and most types of alcohol, though only in moderated levels.
Mediterranean Diet vs Dash Diet
|Mediterranean Diet||Dash Diet|
|- Based on the traditional eating pattern of Mediterranean people||- Designed to prevent and treat hypertension|
|- Focused on the foods that may or may not be consumed||- Focused on limiting sodium intake and regulating calories|
|- Only allows certain types of alcohol, such as red wine||- Doesn’t restrict the type of alcohol to consume|
|- Great for weight loss||- Weight loss as a secondary benefit|
|- Other benefits include improved health and less risk of diabetes||- Helps in preventing cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer|
In general, the Mediterranean Diet is more recommended. It is easy to follow, and it is effective for weight loss as well as improving overall health. However, people with hypertension should go for the Dash Diet, which is specifically designed to lower blood pressure and prevent cardiovascular disease.