Health Advice



Keto vs. Mediterranean diets: It's a draw ... or is it?

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

When Marvin Hagler fought Vito Antuofermo in 1979 for a shot at a world title, the 15-round match ended in a draw. But Hagler came back to defeat Antuofermo three years later, retaining his newly won WBC and WBA world middleweight titles.

A draw doesn't always mean two opponents are truly equal. You can see that clearly in a study from Stanford Medicine that looked at the benefits and debits of the keto vs. Mediterranean diets for people with prediabetes or diabetes. Researchers wanted to see how each diet affected blood glucose levels, cardiometabolic risk factors, weight loss and nutrition, as well as whether people could stick to the diets. Keto is extremely low-carb and high fat; the Med diet is lower-carb and fat, plant-based and includes whole grains, olive oil and fish.

After 12 weeks on each diet, the researchers found that participants' blood sugar levels and weight loss were more or less the same for each diet plan -- a draw. But in a rematch? Heart-damaging LDL levels went up on the keto and down on the Med diet, and keto delivered significantly less life-sustaining nutrients, including fiber; thiamin; vitamins B6, C, D and E; and phosphorus. Plus, keto was harder to stick with long-term. Add this data to another study, published in JAMA, which found that a Mediterranean diet helps prevent cognitive decline and Alzheimer's in middle-aged Hispanic and Latino adults, and we say the title of Healthiest Diet clearly goes to the Mediterranean plan. It's explained in my book "YOU: On a Diet."



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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