Relation between eating a Mediterranean diet and weight change

Romaguera, D., Norat, T., Vergnaud, A.C., Mouw, T., May, A.M., Agudo, A., Buckland, G., Slimani, N., Rinaldi, S., Couto, E., Clavel-Chapelon, F., Boutron-Ruault, M.C., Cottet, V., Rohrmann, S., Teucher, B., Bergmann, M., Boeing, H., Tjonneland, A., Halkjaer, J., Jakobsen, M.U., Dahm, C.C., Travier, N., Rodriguez, L., Sanchez, M.J., Amiano, P., Barricarte, A., Huerta, J.M., Luan, J., Wareham, N., Key, T.J., Spencer, E.A., Orfanos, P., Naska, A., Trichopoulou, A., Palli, D., Agnoli, C., Mattiello, A., Tumino, R., Vineis, P., Bueno-de-Mesquita, H.B., Buchner, F.L., Manjer, J., Wirfalt, E., Johansson, I., Hellstrom, V., Lund, E., Braaten, T., Engeset, D., Odysseos, A., Riboli, E. and Peeters, P.H. Mediterranean dietary patterns and prospective weight change in participants of the EPIC-PANACEA project. Am J Clin Nutr., 92(4), pp. 912-921.

BACKGROUND: There is an association between a greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet and a reduced risk of developing chronic diseases. However, it is not clear whether this dietary pattern may be protective also against the development of obesity.

OBJECTIVE: We assessed the association between the adherence to the Mediterranean dietary pattern (MDP), prospective weight change, and the incidence of overweight or obesity.

DESIGN: We conducted a prospective cohort study [the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Physical Activity, Nutrition, Alcohol Consumption, Cessation of Smoking, Eating Out of Home, and Obesity (EPIC-PANACEA) project] in 373,803 individuals (103,455 men and 270,348 women; age range: 25-70 y) from 10 European countries. Anthropometric measurements were obtained at recruitment and after a median follow-up time of 5 y. The relative Mediterranean Diet Score (rMED; score range: 0-18) was used to assess adherence to the MDP according to the consumption of 9 dietary components that are characteristic of the Mediterranean diet. The association between the rMED and 5-y weight change was modeled through multiadjusted mixed-effects linear regression.

RESULTS: Individuals with a high adherence to the MDP according to the rMED (11-18 points) showed a 5-y weight change of -0.16 kg (95% CI: -0.24, -0.07 kg) and were 10% (95% CI: 4%, 18%) less likely to develop overweight or obesity than were individuals with a low adherence to the MDP (0-6 points). The low meat content of the Mediterranean diet seemed to account for most of its positive effect against weight gain.

CONCLUSION: This study shows that promoting the MDP as a model of healthy eating may help to prevent weight gain and the development of obesity.

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