Both the Mediterranean diet and intermittent fasting are popular approaches for a healthy lifestyle.
While the Mediterranean diet encourages balanced consumption of diverse whole foods, intermittent fasting sets a specific regime for eating and fasting time.
Both of these dietary approaches are associated with various health benefits and can be used separately or combined.
This article looks into the Mediterranean diet, Intermittent fasting, the compatibility of these approaches, and their health benefits.
Let’s get started!
The Mediterranean diet includes mainly whole foods. It focuses on the consumption of plant foods, fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats. This is the typical diet of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean sea (e.g., Spain, Greece, Italy) and is similar to other plant-based diets like flexitarian and pescatarian diets. 
- All fruits (fresh, frozen, dried)
- All vegetables (fresh, frozen, dried, canned)
- Whole grains (brown rice, pasta, bread, cereals, oats)
- Legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas, soy)
- Nuts and seeds
- Herbs and spices
- Olive oil as primary cooking oil (other suitable vegetable oils include sesame, walnut, canola, avocado oil)
- Fish and seafood (at least twice a week; fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines is recommended)
- Poultry and eggs (small portions a few times weekly; white poultry meat is preferred)
- Low-fat dairy foods (small portions a few times a week)
- Lean meat (limited to a few times per month)
Intermittent fasting is based on choosing regular time periods to eat and fast in a 24-hour timeframe.
Here are popular Intermittent fasting schedules:
- 16/8 (16 hours fast)
- 13/11 (13 hours fast)
- 18/6 (18 hours fast)
- 20/4 (20 hours fast)
- 24, 36, 48 or 72 hours fast
- 5:2 (regularly eating for 5 days and restricting to 500-600 calories for 2 days)
If you fast, you shouldn’t eat any foods and snacks or drink caloric drinks. You can drink water and 0-calorie beverages like tea and plain coffee.
When you don’t fast, you are allowed to eat all the foods you like. To keep your diet healthy, be mindful of what you eat and focus on whole, nutritious foods, and include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Eat high-calorie, processed foods rich in refined sugars, simple carbs, saturated, trans fats and sodium only in moderation for best effect.
Mediterranean diet vs. intermittent fasting
Health benefits of Mediterranean diet
- Lower risk of type 2 diabetes
- Reduced risk of metabolic syndrome
- Reduced risk of metabolic-related conditions
- Lower risk of mental disorders: depression, cognitive decline, dementia, and other
- Cholesterol balance
- Blood pressure balance
- Lower risk of cancer
- Reduce risk of heart disease
- Lower BMI
- Achieving healthy weight
- Reduced oxidative stress in the body
Health benefits of intermittent fasting
According to the US National Institute on Aging, intermittent fasting may lead to improvement of the following health conditions  :
- Heart disease
- Neurological diseases
Mediterranean diet vs. intermittent fasting for weight loss
A 2019 study found that people who adhere to intermittent fasting for 12 months lost, on average, 4 kilograms from their weight. Mediterranean dieters lost 2.8 kilograms body weight for the same period of time. 
The Mediterranean diet does not set portion sizes and calories to eat per day. As a result, poor diet planning may lead to overeating, calorie surplus, and eventual weight gain.
Intermittent fasting on Mediterranean diet
You can combine a Mediterranean diet and intermittent fasting diet plan and benefit from both approaches! What would this combined dietary plan look like?
Consuming foods, meals, snacks, and beverages that comply with the Mediterranean diet
Setting “time-restricted eating” that you can adapt to your lifestyle
Evidence suggests that a daily time-restricted eating window of 8 to 12 hours is a central component of this diet.  With that in mind, combining a Mediterranean diet with 12 to 16 hours of intermittent fasting can be a sustainable and healthy diet option, related to many health benefits.