AIMS: Adherence to a healthy dietary pattern, such as the Mediterranean diet, exerts a beneficial role regarding the development of coronary heart disease. In addition, several studies support the protective role of the Mediterranean diet as far as obesity is concerned. This review, examining results from prospective cohort and cross-sectional studies, as well as clinical trials, aims to clarify whether the beneficial effect of the Mediterranean dietary pattern on coronary heart disease is due to the impact of this diet on weight loss and obesity status or an independent effect. DATA SYNTHESIS: 35 original-research studies that were published in English until 2009, selected through a computer-assisted literature search are discussed, from which 3 were prospective, 11 were cross-sectional studies, and 21 were clinical trials. CONCLUSION: Although not all studies show a protective effect of the Mediterranean diet on body weight and obesity, the evidence suggests a possible beneficial role of this dietary pattern. Thus the Mediterranean diet protects against the development of coronary heart disease not only because of its beneficial role regarding cardiovascular risk factors, but also due to a possible effect on body weight and obesity.