Two popular eating plans are the Mediterranean diet and the vegan diet. Both have been thoroughly researched for their numerous health benefits.
The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional eating habits of Mediterranean people in countries such as Greece, Spain, and Italy. It’s known for supporting a wide range of flavorful and healthful foods.
Meanwhile, the vegan diet promotes a wide variety of plant-based foods and has been linked to improved health and environmental outcomes.
While these two diet plans have some obvious similarities, you may be wondering how they compare.
This article compares and contrasts the Mediterranean and vegan diets to help you decide which is best for you.
How they compare-
Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are all included in both the Mediterranean and vegan diets as nutrient-dense plant foods.
Animal goods, such as poultry, eggs, dairy, and shellfish, are allowed in moderation on the Mediterranean diet. Although red meat and processed meat products such as bacon and ham are not forbidden, they should only be ingested on rare occasions.
Vegan diets, on the other hand, exclude all of these foods as well as additional animal products such as honey, gelatin, and butter. Foods cooked in animal fat or containing animal-derived compounds, such as food colours and flavourings, should also be avoided.
Though there are no hard regulations in the Mediterranean diet about which foods are allowed and which are not, it is typically recommended to limit processed foods, refined grains, and added sugars.
All of these foods are vegan-friendly as long as they don’t contain any animal ingredients.
There are also a few more aspects of the Mediterranean diet that aren’t stressed in vegan diets. These include drinking red wine in moderation, eating a variety of heart-healthy fats, and, wherever possible, sharing meals with people.
Weight loss effectiveness-
Weight loss has been linked to both the Mediterranean and vegan eating patterns. According to some research comparing the two eating habits, the vegan diet may be more successful.
A study of 62 overweight persons found that those who followed a low-fat vegan diet for 16 weeks dropped an average of 13.2 pounds (6 kg), whereas those who followed the Mediterranean diet maintained their weight.
Remember that any form of low-fat diet is likely to be low in calories, resulting in weight reduction.
Another small study discovered that those who followed a vegan diet for four weeks lost more weight than those who followed a Mediterranean diet for the same period of time.
One study found that the Mediterranean and vegetarian diets were equally efficient at improving levels of specific hormones that affect energy balance and hunger after three months.
Vegan diets are frequently more restrictive than Mediterranean diets, so keep that in mind. As a result, they may be more difficult to maintain over time, potentially negating any long-term weight loss benefits.
In the end, additional research is needed to see how these two diets compare in terms of weight loss success.
Other health impacts:
Aside from weight loss, Mediterranean and vegan diets have been linked to a variety of additional health benefits. Improved heart health, brain function, and blood sugar control are among them.
The Mediterranean diet’s capacity to improve heart health and protect against heart disease and stroke has been thoroughly researched.
Vegan and vegetarian diets have been demonstrated to be beneficial to heart health. They could, for example, be connected to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, which are both risk factors for heart disease.
The effects of Mediterranean and vegan diets on heart health were examined in one study. The vegan diet reduced total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels more effectively, while the Mediterranean diet reduced blood pressure levels more effectively.
Another tiny study found that the vegan diet lowers total cholesterol levels while the Mediterranean diet improves the function of the heart’s small blood arteries, suggesting that it may lower the risk of heart disease.
Finally, both diets appear to have significant benefits for heart health and disease prevention.
The Mediterranean diet has been linked to increased brain function in numerous studies. It has even been suggested that it may help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Similarly, some research suggests that eating a plant-based diet promotes brain health. This action is thought to result in a better composition of beneficial bacteria in your gut.
While there is a lot of study on the Mediterranean diet’s brain-boosting benefits, there isn’t much on the vegan diet’s effects on brain health.
Blood sugar control
Both the Mediterranean and vegan diets promote a wide variety of nutrient-dense, fiber-rich foods that can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Both diets have been linked to better blood sugar management.
A study of 15 research, for example, linked a vegan diet to a decreased incidence of type 2 diabetes. In those with this illness, it was also linked to better blood sugar control.
According to other studies, the Mediterranean diet is linked to better blood sugar control and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
In fact, a big study linked the Mediterranean diet to a 19% lower risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes.
More research is needed to directly compare the two diets and see which one promotes blood sugar control better.
Which option should you take?
The Mediterranean diet and the vegan diet, as previously mentioned, have both been linked to a variety of health benefits, including weight loss, heart health, and blood sugar control.
As a result, when determining which is best for you, consider your aims and preferences.
The vegan diet is more stringent than the Mediterranean diet, focusing on which foods to avoid rather than which meals to eat.
As a result, following a vegan diet may feel more restrictive and difficult. It’s also linked to an increased risk of nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin B12 and iron, especially if you don’t plan beforehand.
The Mediterranean diet, on the other hand, promotes the consumption of a wide range of nutrient-dense foods such as heart-healthy fats, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.
This can make it much easier to keep to over time while also ensuring that you obtain the vitamins and minerals you require as part of a well-balanced diet.
Other habits that might contribute to overall wellness, such as sharing meals with family or friends, are also stressed in the Mediterranean diet.
Finally, it’s worth noting that many people choose a vegan diet for ethical or environmental reasons rather than for personal health reasons.
Vegan and Mediterranean diets are both healthful and linked to a number of potential health benefits.
They both place a strong emphasis on nutrient-dense plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
Vegan diets are often more restrictive, and careful planning is required to ensure that your nutritional needs are met. In comparison to the Mediterranean diet, several features of the vegan diet, such as its impact on brain function, have received less research.
To assess whether a vegan or Mediterranean diet is best for you — or if you should explore beyond these two alternatives – think about your objectives, tastes, and priorities.