The Mediterranean Diet is inspired by the traditional foods of southern European countries such as Italy and Greece. Therefore, the Mediterranean Diet centers on a high consumption of natural and fresh foods, bread, wheat, cereals, olive oil and fish. Although Mediterranean Diet is not a weight loss diet per se, if followed correctly and in conjunction with exercise, many people will nonetheless experience weight loss.
The Mediterranean Diet is based on the following principles:
- Plenty of food derived from plant sources, such as fruit, vegetables, root vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.
- No day without fruit or vegetables.
- Most foods should be processed as little as possible. In other words, limit refined foods.
- Fresh foods that are in season and from the local area, as they tend to be richer in vitamins, minerals and antioxidant.
- Your main source of dietary fat should be Olive Oil.
- Products such as butter and cream to be replaced with olive oil or otherwise margarine.
- Small daily quantities of low-fat and non-fat cheese and yogurt.
- Moderate intake of fish and even less poultry. Beef, lamb and pork should be limited. When you eat chicken, eat chicken skinless. Turkey is better than chicken, because it is leaner. Limit your intake of eggs to four a week. This includes eggs used in baking an cooking.
- Products high in sugar and saturated fat should be restricted and in frequent.
- You may eat lean cuts of red meat a few times per month.
- Low or medium quantities of wine. Consumption of wine should be mostly limited to meals.
- It is recommended you drink no more than 1-2 glasses per day for men and 1 per day for women.
Advantages of the Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet pattern of eating is very popular unlike may other diet plans is wholeheartedly embraced by the medical community. The Mediterranean Diet is backed by a wealth of research, which suggest that it can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, dying from cancer and the risk of developing Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
The Mediterranean Diet can also lay claim to the fact that is has higher than average long-term adherence and participation, which of course results in much better weight loss. More than anything, the Mediterranean Diet is a lifestyle diet; it is not restrictive or extreme diet and has great choice and great tasting foods, but it is effective.
Macronutrient Ratio of the Mediterranean Diet
Total fat content of the Mediterranean Diet is 25% – 35% of total calories, with saturated fat at 8% or less of total calories. Carbohydrate makes up approximately 50% – 60% of total calorie intake.
The Mediterranean diet is high in salt. Foods such as olives, salt-cured cheeses, capers, anchovies and salads dressed with olive oil contain high levels of salt.
The Mediterranean Diet pyramid differs a little from the more traditional food pyramid. The base of the Mediterranean diet pyramid consists of fresh fruit and vegetables, pasta, breads, rice, couscous and other whole grain products. The next level consists of fish and seafood. Then poultry, eggs, butter and cheese. The Mediterranean Diet places red meat at the very top, as it is the foods group that should most restricted, due to its potential harmful effects
The Mediterranean Diet is a great choice for those who want to lose weight, get healthy and learn healthy long-term eating habits. If you suffer with cardiovascular disease and also need to lose weight, this diet can be a great choice, as it is thought to lower cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels and blood pressure.