"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

A cousin of the Mediterranean weight loss plan shows two major advantages

February 12, 2024 – A brand new study shows that individuals who followed the Atlantic Diet eating pattern significantly reduced their waistlines and improved their levels of cholesterol.

The Atlantic Diet is the standard weight loss plan in parts of Spain and Portugal that focuses on homemade local, fresh and minimally processed seasonal products. It is comparable to the favored Mediterranean weight loss plan, each of which emphasize vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and olive oil. The Atlantic Diet also focuses on fish and seafood, potatoes, bread, milk and cheese, while limiting meat and wine.

Researchers randomly assigned members of 231 families in Spain to either follow a guided Atlantic weight loss plan for six months or just follow their usual weight loss plan and lifestyle and function a comparison group for the Atlantic weight loss plan eaters. The families involved within the study included 231 men and 343 women ranging in age from 18 to 85 years, with a median age of 47 years. Those who participated within the Atlantic Diet participated in nutrition education and cooking classes and likewise received educational food baskets. The results were published this month in JAMA network opened.

Researchers found that individuals within the Atlantic weight loss plan group were 68% less prone to be newly diagnosed with metabolic syndrome in the course of the study's six-month follow-up period. Among people within the Atlantic group, 2.7% were newly diagnosed with metabolic syndrome after 6 months, compared with 7.3% of individuals within the control group.

Metabolic syndrome (sometimes called insulin resistance syndrome) will be diagnosed when an individual has three or more of the next symptoms:

  • A big waist or an apple-like body shape
  • hypertension
  • High blood sugar levels
  • High triglyceride levels
  • Low HDL levels of cholesterol

Compared to the control group, study participants who followed the Atlantic weight loss plan reduced their waistlines and increased their HDL levels of cholesterol, sometimes called “good cholesterol.” There was no measurable difference between the groups in blood pressure, blood sugar or triglyceride levels, but people within the Atlantic weight loss plan group were less prone to have multiple serious medical conditions that might contribute to metabolic syndrome than the control group at the tip of the study period.

The findings are necessary because, in line with the National Institutes of Health, about one in three U.S. adults has metabolic syndrome, which increases the chance of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Interestingly, of the 117 people within the study who already had metabolic syndrome at the beginning of the project, almost 30% not met the factors for the syndrome by the tip of the study, on each the Atlantic Diet and the Control groups were equally likely to scale back their symptoms.

The study also aimed to look at whether the Atlantic weight loss plan had environmental advantages, akin to reducing CO2 emissions. However, there was no significant difference between the Atlantic weight loss plan group and the group that didn't change their eating habits. Researchers estimated carbon emissions based on how each food item listed in a participant's food diary was produced, transported and sold, and ultimately consumed. The researchers wrote that additional evaluation predicted that in a much larger study, the environmental impact of the Atlantic weight loss plan would have been clearly measurable and demonstrated the potential to scale back greenhouse gas emissions.