Keto Diet Vs Mediterranean Diet: Which One Is Better For You?

Once you finally decide that you're really going to change your eating habits to improve your health, you know the hardest part is going to be sticking to the diet itself — no matter what tempting treats come your way. The second-hardest thing, however, is likely to be deciding on what diet plan to follow. Why must there be so many, and why must they all disagree with each other? Some say never eat fat, others say don't touch carbs, and still others require eating copious amounts of something that doesn't seem super appetizing (like cabbage soup).

While fad diets come and go, some diets are so popular, and at least anecdotally successful, that they make the leap from fad to something that's practically akin to a religion amongst their adherents. If you were to pick your eating plan in terms of internet popularity, you might think that keto is some kind of miracle cure. Although this diet dates back to the 1920s when it was developed as a method of managing epilepsy, it blew up in the 20-teens and by 2018 was Google's most-searched diet. 

If you prefer to go by the guidance of medical professionals (or celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels), you'll learn that they're not all keto fans. Instead, the diet that scores tops for heart health and diabetes management as well as weight loss, according to U.S. News & World Report, is the far less trendy Mediterranean diet.

Why Mediterranean tops keto

The keto diet (No. 34 out of 35 on that U.S. News & World Report list) is problematic due to the fact that it's seen as posing several health risks. Sharon Zarabi, RD, director of NYC's Lenox Hill Hospital bariatric program (via Endocrine Web), says that keto diets are high in saturated fat, so could possibly lead to coronary problems, and they are also low in fiber so constipation is likely to occur. Keto's also hard on the liver and kidneys. Yet another problem with the keto diet is that it's extremely restrictive and therefore hard to stick to.

The Mediterranean diet, on the other hand, is more about moderation than "just say no." Dr. David Katz, M.D., director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, told Health that this diet originates in a place "where people happily go to enjoy the food." He characterizes it as "very manageable" and says "it's not suffering, it's not excluding things — it's something that people and families really can do." 

A glass of wine, a (small) plate of pasta, and no bad breath, keto crotch, or bald spots? Guess that diet choice isn't going to be such a tough one to make, after all.