It’s no secret that the Mediterranean diet is one of the best eating plans for those hoping to maintain a healthy lifestyle (and maybe lose a few pounds). According to a new study, the benefits of following it can inspire the rest of your family members, too.
Research published in the International Journal of Obesity observed the participants of a weight loss program and their family members over a two year span. The participants were instructed to follow the Mediterranean diet along with physical activity aimed at lowering their weight and warding off heart health risks commonly associated with obesity.
The study not only showed success for those in the weight loss program, but also found there was a “contagious” effect to the Mediterranean diet. Essentially, the influence from their family members led many of their partners, children, parents, siblings, or other relatives to also shed a few pounds — and improve the nutritional quality of their overall diet.
“In this context it was, fortunately, a beneficial ‘contagion,’ resulting in weight loss and improved dietary habits,” Dr. Albert Goday, one of the researchers on the project, said. He added that “among the many possible dietary approaches to weight loss, the one based on the Mediterraneann diet is the most easily shared within a family environment.”
We’re sure the same “contagious” effect could happen with non-Mediterranean diets. However, as Goday points out, the delicious variety of options likely make it more appealing to folks than, say, cutting back on carbs with keto or only eating at certain times of the day with intermittent fasting.
There was one aspect of the study that didn’t catch on with family members quite as well, though. Dr. Olga Castañer, the final author of the study, said, “The same contagious effect was not observed in terms of physical activity among the patients and their relatives.”
That’s understandable, of course, considering most of us would rather eat food than work out. But even without added exercise, the healthy change in everyone’s eating habits were still clearly impressive.
So if you’re looking for a way to lose weight, boost your health, and inspire the same for your loved ones, you might want to give the Mediterranean diet a try!