The Mediterranean Diet?

So what exactly is all this fuss about the Mediterranean Diet? Everywhere you go, the topic comes up in discussions as the solution to all our weight problems. The name itself conjures up associations of lazy summer holidays, sumptuous food, wine and good friends. How can a diet like this not be extremely enjoyable?

In a recent study the Mediterranean type diet was compared head on to Low-Carb and Low-Fat type diets. It came out with flying colors. Average weight loss on the Mediterranean diet almost equaled that of Low-Carb diets, while most definitely offering a more varied and exciting menu. Most importantly; the range of implementation options and food groups this eating plan offers makes it much easier to permanently change to your everyday eating habits for sustained weight loss.

The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine (17 July 2008), found that participants in the Low-Carb group lost the most weight with a two year sustained average loss of 10.4 lb (4.7 kg). The group on the Mediterranean diet followed close on their heels with an average weight loss of 9.7 lb (4.4 kg). Interestingly, the average weight loss of those on the Low-Fat Diet was considerably lower at only 6.4 lb (2.9 kg). Women did better than men on the Mediterranean Diet, and the diet was also found to have definite general health benefits such as the prevention of Type II Diabetes and heart problems, as well as improved longevity.

Now that we know the Mediterranean diet warrants a closer look; what is it exactly?

The Mediterranean diet is not a specific diet, but a general eating plan that incorporates the most prevalent eating habits of the people living in the sixteen countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. With so many different ethnic and cultural influences on the food, the eating plan allows for varied implementations of the diet, that can be easily customized to individual taste.

To be classified as a Mediterranean Type Diet, the eating plan must include the following:

  • Plenty of fruits, vegetables, bread and other cereals, potatoes, beans, nuts and seeds
  • Olive oil as the most important source of monounsaturated fat
  • Dairy products, fish and poultry consumed in moderate amounts
  • Very little red meat
  • Eggs up to four times a week
  • Wine consumed in low to moderate amounts

More info about the NEJM study can be found here.

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1 Responses to “The Mediterranean Diet?”

  • My type of diet this one! Especially with the wine, LOL. No way I’d survive a diet that doesn’t allow me my glass of wine….I been eating Mediterranean type food for about a year now. Not always but most of the time, and I can tell you – it is the best present I could have given myself ever! Not only do I love my food, but I am healthy and I find it so easy to integrate this in my everyday life. Weigh loss to date: 13kg.

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