Both the keto diet and the Mediterranean diet have been around for a long time, and both are lauded as diets that can promote weight loss and contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
A keto diet prioritizes meat and other healthy fats while restricting carbohydrates. In contrast, a Mediterranean diet like one found at 19 Cleveland is usually less restrictive, focusing on specific eating patterns rather than eliminating entire food groups. But is one better than the other?
Both can be healthy diets, but it’s essential to understand the pros and cons of each to determine which one is best for you and your lifestyle.
Mediterranean Diet Pros and Cons
The Mediterranean diet has technically existed for centuries in places like Greece and Italy, but it didn’t become popular as a “diet” until the 1960s, when research into Mediterranean eating patterns suggested they lowered the risk of many diseases.
The Mediterranean diet incorporates fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans, and healthy fats. It also includes animal products such as chicken, fish, eggs, and dairy. Red and processed meats are okay in smaller quantities.
Physical activity is also a key element of the Mediterranean diet’s effectiveness.
A Mediterranean diet is ideal for those who want to lead a healthier lifestyle but don’t want to follow a restrictive diet or give up their favorite foods.
The Mediterranean diet boasts several health benefits, including lowering inflammation due to its high content of omega-3s, antioxidants, and polyphenols from foods like nuts and olive oil.
The Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, some cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also linked to longer life expectancy.
As the Mediterranean diet does not restrict any food groups, it’s easy to meet all your nutritional needs on a Mediterranean diet.
Many people struggle to follow the Mediterranean “diet,” as it has very few rigid guidelines. As the Mediterranean diet is more of a lifestyle, it can be challenging to know which foods to eat in abundance, which to limit, and which to avoid entirely.
A Mediterranean diet may also be challenging for those with dietary restrictions. Additionally, foods in the Mediterranean diet can be costly for some.
Pros and Cons of the Keto Diet
The keto diet was developed in the early 20th century, initially as an epilepsy treatment. The keto diet involves consuming a very low amount of carbohydrates and prioritizing foods high in protein and healthy fats. Less than 5 percent of all calories consumed come from carbs in a keto diet.
The keto diet earns its name from the term ketosis, which refers to the body’s natural tendency to break down fat for energy when carbohydrate intake is extremely low. Nowadays, the keto diet is used primarily for weight loss, although it has been studied for diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and other conditions.
A keto diet typically consists of meat, fish, cheese, eggs, oils, avocados, butter, cream, nuts, seeds, and low-carb vegetables. Higher-carb vegetables, dairy products, grains, beans, fruit, and processed foods are avoided as they increase carbohydrate intake.
Following a keto diet can help you lose weight quickly, lower your blood sugar, and improve insulin sensitivity. You also don’t have to count calories to lose weight on a keto diet, as the diet automatically involves reducing calories. A keto diet can help suppress appetite and boost metabolism due to high protein intake.
A keto diet may have several other health benefits, including reducing the risk of certain cancers, improving heart and brain function, and reducing seizures in certain groups. Following a keto diet may also help with acne.
While the keto diet may be helpful for weight loss, some nutritionists suggest it is not a sustainable diet, as it is highly restrictive. Regaining weight is common after quitting a keto diet. There is also little research into the long-term effects of eating large amounts of protein and high-fat foods with little carbohydrate intake.
Because the keto diet heavily restricts carbs, several fruits and vegetables needed to provide fiber and reduce inflammation cannot be eaten in high quantities. Some people on the keto diet experience what is known as the “keto flu.” The keto flu can have symptoms similar to the actual flu.
In addition, a keto diet may not be feasible for many people’s lifestyles, as it requires a lot of planning. Often, the help of a registered dietician is necessary to ensure you are following the keto diet correctly and safely.