It’s widely and incorrectly thought that the only way to a healthy lifestyle is through weight loss. However, studies show that people with obesity or a high body mass index (BMI) can reduce mortality risks with a healthy diet that doesn’t necessarily require shedding pounds.
The subject of dieting, weight loss, and health is a controversial one, which is why many studies have been carried out. One in particular, carried by Dr. Karl Michaëlsson, has sparked a new debate because revealed that a healthy diet lowered mortality risks for people with a high and a “normal” BMI, while an unhealthy diet increased their mortality risks
The study included groups of people with obesity (a high BMI) and others with average weight. The focus was on their diet, which consisted of a Mediterranean-style diet, and its effects on all participants. Once the researchers had all results, they could confirm the positive impact of healthy eating habits.
“These results indicate that adherence to healthy diets (...) may be a more appropriate focus than avoidance of obesity for the prevention of overall mortality.”
The group that consisted of people with an average BMI showed that a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean-styled one, reduced the risks of death. In other words, those participants who ate many vegetables, fruits, fish, nuts, and other foods included in the diet, and who lowered their red meat and alcohol consumption had a lower mortality risk.
Likewise, the group of obese individuals showed similar results: those who adhered to the Mediterranean-style diet managed to lower their mortality risks -and they even reached the same levels as average-weighted participants who also followed the diet. This proves the very positive impact of healthier eating habits, even if they don’t require weight loss.
However, researchers reminded the readers that there has been repeatedly proven that obesity by itself can increase mortality risks. While they recommend shifting the focus from weight loss to a healthy diet, it’s important to consider that it may not counter all the effects of obesity.