In March 2018 researchers from Italy published the results of their study to compare the effect of a low calorie vegetarian diet and the Mediterranean diet in improving cardiovascular risk factors. A total of 118 overweight individuals (average age 51 years, 78 females) with a low-to-moderate cardiovascular risk were involved in the study. Results showed that there was no difference between the two diets with respect to reductions in body weight, BMI and fat mass. However, the low calorie vegetarian diet appeared to be was more effective in reducing LDL(bad)- cholesterol levels, whereas the Mediterranean diet led to a greater reduction in triglyceride levels. In addition, the Mediterranean diet appeared to improve interleukin-17, an inflammatory biomarker, but apart from this no significant difference was seen between the two diets with respect to oxidative stress and inflammatory biomarkers.
Sofi F et al. Low-Calorie Vegetarian Versus Mediterranean Diets for Reducing Body Weight and Improving Cardiovascular Risk Profile: CARDIVEG Study (Cardiovascular Prevention With Vegetarian Diet). Circulation. 2018 Mar 13;137(11):1103-1113