The real key is to eat a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits and beans, keeping a check on the amount you eat—and, of course, avoiding processed foods. Both diets had positive effects even after just three months, with similar weight loss and a reduction in markers in the blood that suggest a raised risk of heart disease.
Researchers from the University of Florence tested both diets on a group of 107 healthy, but overweight, people aged from 18 to 75 years.
The vegetarian diet included eggs and dairy, and the Mediterranean allowed poultry, fish and some red meat.
At the end of three months, the two groups switched to the other diet, but the weight loss was similar in both groups—an average of three pounds of body fat and four pounds of overall body weight—and blood markers of heart disease had also fallen by similar amounts after either diet.
The take-home message is that people have a choice when it comes to a diet that helps the heart, the researchers say.