Given the option, would you choose the Paleo diet, intermittent fasting (IF) or the Mediterranean eating pattern for weight loss?

Among 250 healthy, overweight adults participating in a randomized controlled study, more than half (55%) went for IF (restricting intake 2 days a week), while 27% chose the Mediterranean diet (emphasizing whole grains, fruit and vegetables), and 18% opted to go Paleo (modified to allow some legumes and dairy). Participants also chose whether to try high-intensity interval training or a standard exercise regimen. After a brief educational session on their chosen diet, they completed assessments of their food intake, biometric measures and physical activity; these assessments were repeated at intervals.

The results, reported in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that after 1 year, about half of the people following the Mediterranean (57%) and IF (54%) eating patterns were maintaining their diets, compared with 35% of those eating Paleo. Average weight loss at 1 year ranged from 1.8 kilograms (3.9 pounds) for the Paleo plan to 4 kg (8.8 pounds) for IF. Participants who were still on their chosen diets at 12 months lost more weight. A side benefit for those fasting or eating Mediterranean were clinically significant improvements in blood pressure.

The authors concluded that all the diets had benefit, and the best advice is to choose the one that contains healthy foods and is most likely to be followed.