Table 6.6-2. Summary of key aspects of different nutrition plans

Dietary plan




Mediterranean diet

Rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, olive oil

Improved metabolic parameters (blood glucose, TG, HDL-C, BP), reduced number of cardiovascular events

Small effect on body weight

Low-GI diet

Focus on carbohydrate-containing foods that are less likely to cause large increases in blood glucose, foods ranked 1-100 (low GI, 1-55).

Examples of low-GI foods: green vegetables, most fruits, raw carrots, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, bran breakfast cereals

Improved glycemic control, lower BP, lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease

No guidance on portion sizes, does not take nutrition into account

Vegetarian diet

Abstaining from meat or meat byproducts

Improved glycemic and lipid control (including LDL-C), reduced body weight, reduced coronary heart disease incidence and mortality

Risk of micronutrient deficiency (eg, vitamin B12)

DASH dietary pattern

4-5 servings of vegetables/d; 4-5 servings of fruits/d; 7-8 servings of grains (mainly whole grains)/d; 2-3 servings of low-fat or no-fat dairy foods/d; ≤2 servings of lean meats, poultry, and fish/d; 2-3 servings of fats and oils/d; 4-5 servings of nuts, seeds, and dry beans/week

Reduced body weight and waist circumference, lower blood pressure, lower lipid (including LDL-C) and CRP levels; lower risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and stroke


Partial meal replacement (replacing 1-2 meals/d as part of a calorie-restricted intervention)

Usually provides 200-250 calories/serving; fortified with vitamins and minerals

Rapid weight loss, reduced waist circumference, lower blood pressure, improved glycemic control

Inconsistent data on long-term weight loss and weight maintenance

Reduced-carbohydrate diet

– Low-carbohydrate diet: <45% of calories from carbohydrates

– Very low–carbohydrate diet: ≤20-50 g of carbohydrates/d

– Ketogenic diet: very low carbohydrate content with most calories coming from high-fat foods

Greater fat and weight loss at 6 months vs low-fat diet, no difference at 12 months; improved TG and HDL-C values

No effect on BP, higher LDL vs low-fat diet at 6 months


– Fasting for varying periods during the day (typically ≥12 h)

– Alternate day fasting (no calorie intake on fasting day, unrestrictive food intake on feasting days)

Increased insulin sensitivity, possible reduced desire to eat and increased satiety, improved BP

No differences in HbA1c, weight, fat mass, fat free mass, and BMI between IF and continuous calorie restriction

BMI, body mass index; BP, blood pressure; CRP, C-reactive protein; DASH, Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension; GI, glycemic index; HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin; HDL-C, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol; IF, intermittent fasting; LDL-C, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol; TG, triglyceride.