Mediterranean Style Diet Satisfies and Helps Weight Loss Too

Apr 20, 1998

Peanuts, peanut butter, peanut oil, other nuts, avocados and olive oil are incorporated into a healthy, “Mediterranean-style” weight loss diet which is moderate in fat, high in monounsaturated fat, and supplies more than adequate levels of vitamins and minerals. Six month study findings announced today at the Experimental Biology annual meeting in San Francisco showed that subjects lost weight on both the low fat and “Mediterranean-style” diets. In the study, conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, 101 overweight men and women were assigned at random to consume one of two types of diets — low fat and moderate fat with high monounsaturated fat — for 18 months.

Subjects, whose compliance to the diet regime and body weight are carefully monitored, consume a wide variety foods on each diet plan. Foods such as lentil soup, peanut butter on bagels, plenty of fruits and vegetables, peanuts in salads, and a variety of fish and seafood are included.

Results from this study will add a significant piece to the ongoing debate centering around how the amount and type of fat affect weight loss. Nationwide food consumption data do not support a conclusion that low fat automatically translates into weight loss.

According to Dr. Frank Sacks, Co-Investigator and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, “Weight loss studies that use a low fat diet, although sometimes successful in the short-term, have not shown success in sustaining weight loss. Long-term adherence with some low fat diets may be impeded by reduced satiety, palatability, and variety.” According to Kathy McManus, Co-Investigator and Manager of Clinical Nutrition in the Department of Nutrition at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, “In the last decade, Americans cut their fat intake from 36% of total calories to 34% of total calories. Nevertheless, Americans gained an average of 8 pounds per person. We need to identify eating patterns that can satisfy the average person over a lifetime.”

The Peanut Institute is a non-profit organization that supports nutrition research and develops educational programs to encourage healthful lifestyles.