You’ve often heard of eating plans being compared to the Mediterranean diet. As it stands, this diet may as well be a benchmark for all meal plans.
Urging you to eat lots of plant foods and prefer monounsaturated fats over unhealthful ones, the Mediterranean diet is esteemed among the world’s best. Among its many purported benefits, this diet may strengthen your heart and serve as a preventive against cancer, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. Best of all, it may help you shed weight.
By default, the residents of the Mediterranean coast, which encompasses Europe and southwestern Asia, traditionally subsist on this diet. But it was not until half a century ago when scientists found a link between the diet of Mediterranean people and their good health.
Mediterranean gastronomy has many regional nuances. In general, a Mediterranean-style diet features plenty of olives, beans, whole grains, fish, vegetables, and fruits, plus a little wine and dairy here and there. As for the Mediterranean lifestyle, laidback dining and regular exercise are constants.
Research has shown that diets rich in plant foods, lean protein, and healthy fats—such as the Mediterranean diet—often lead to weight reduction. In fact, a research published in the New England Journal of Medicineshows the effectiveness of a low-fat Mediterranean diet as a metabolically sound measure for weight loss.
There is little wonder then that many latter-day eating programs are patterned after the Mediterranean diet. The widely popular South Beach Diet is just one of those.
How the Mediterranean Diet works
You could somewhat easily spot a Mediterranean-style weight loss diet. It gives itself away by recommending fare low in fat and cholesterol but rich in fiber. Weight loss is an upshot of such a diet simply because its reduced-fat options give you plenty of calorie savings.
Fat is twice as caloric as protein or carbohydrates. In a Mediterranean-style diet, you appropriate your fat needs from such foods as nuts, fish, and olives. These fats are the kind the body prefers. Called monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), they quickly satisfy your hunger without increasing your bad cholesterol levels, unlike saturated fats.
You are bound to persist with a Mediterranean-style weight reduction diet over the long haul because it offers you an assortment of tasty concoctions. But you risk defeating the purpose of the diet if you do not monitor portions. Even when foods are healthy in themselves, you still need to watch your intake of them. For example, olive oil is good for cardiovascular health but just a tablespoon of it gives you 120 calories.
Many diet fads have repackaged the Mediterranean regimen as a tool for short-term weight loss. But this is not the way it is supposed to be. The authentic Mediterranean diet is more of a lifestyle than a quick fix. Other than the kind of food you eat, you need to mind the way you eat and the amount of exercise you are getting in this diet. Mediterranean people are reputed for being physically active and taking time to chew and relish their food.
Weight loss unfolds slowly in a real Mediterranean diet. Expect weight loss on this diet by only as much as two pounds per week. But you can count on those pounds not coming back as quickly as in other diets.
What you can eat on the Mediterranean Diet
There is no one Mediterranean diet. It is a dietary pattern, seeing as it straddles continents. By and large however, it zeroes in on plants, MUFAs, and fish.
Fresh and seasonal foods typify the Mediterranean diet pattern. It sees people choosing whole-grain breads and cereals. It also sees people deriving protein from legumes, seeds, nuts, fish, poultry, reduced-fat dairy, and on occasion, lean meat. Above all, this diet pattern has no place for much trans and saturated fats. So instead of margarine or butter, go for olive or canola oil.
A basic Mediterranean diet pattern is characterized by unlimited amounts of legumes daily. It also prescribes 2-2.5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day. Nuts are recommended by the handful every day too. Fish is eaten more than twice weekly, meat less than 4 ounces daily. Two cups of reduced-fat dairy products are enough every day, but egg intake is limited to four weekly. Wine is not forbidden; you may have a glass daily with dinner or lunch.
So believe it or not: A hot linguine dish swimming in tomato sauce and herbs, or a green salad with Parmesan cheese and a drizzling of olive oil, is as healthy as can be. When in doubt, you can always refer to the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid.
Experts weigh in the Mediterranean Diet
This diet faces a low level of objection from critics. The medical community is a proponent of nutrient-dense diets, of which the Mediterranean style of eating is one.
Besides, the Mediterranean way of eating is, for a weight loss tool, undeniably delicious. Next to the common American diet, the Mediterranean diet is universes more healthy. Even a half-hearted move to a Mediterranean diet can give you plenty of health corollaries.
Medical experts only take issue with its fat recommendations. The Mediterranean diet pattern is ambiguous on how much monounsaturated fat you must consume. To be safe, you should limit intake to 30-35 percent of your calorie level, which is in sync with current dietary guidelines in the US. This can easily be achieved if you coupled the plan with fat binding diet pills.
Since this diet is equally vague on how much physical activity you should be getting, experts recommend federal guidelines too. They encourage at least half an hour of exercise done five times per week. It should cover strength training twice weekly.
Any diet that tells you to gorge on fruits, veggies, and whole grains should be any human body’s cause for jubilation. The benefits it lavishes on health are widely documented by scientists, nutritionists, and dietitians.
A Mediterranean diet is a celestial exemplary in these regards. It is effective for weight loss as it is for preventing chronic diseases.
In a rare confluence of health and indulgence, a Mediterranean-style diet should keep your body in tiptop shape without making you feel deprived. Weight loss does not get any more scrumptious in the Mediterranean coast.