The Mediterranean Diet is all the rage, but what is it? Is it healthy? Is it a fad? As someone who has struggled to keep their weight down for most of her adult years, I am always curious about new diets.  Some of them seem  more believable than others.  I try to avoid the ones that seem too good to be true and instead focus on diets that are healthy and contain foods from all of the food groups. I’ve always thought that completely eliminating one food group from my diet probably isn’t the best way to go.

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet centers on eating heart healthy foods with a dash of healthy olive oil added in.  This diet is meant to closely match the traditional cooking style of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.  The Mediterranean Diet encourages you to:

  • Get enough exercise.
  • Choose whole grains over processed grains.
  • Eat plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes.
  • Use herbs and spices instead of adding extra salt to your food.
  • Eat poultry and fish twice a week.
  • Limit red meat consumption to only once or twice a month.
  • Use olive oil instead of fats like butter.
  • Limit sweets and desserts to only special occasions.

When you look at The Mediterranean Diet, what they’re suggesting makes perfect sense.  We all know that exercise is something that we need more of and we know that we need to limit things like extra salt, fatty meats, and butter in our diet.  We know multigrain bread is healthier for us than white bread and we know enjoying sugary sweets every day is not a great thing to do.

Studies have shown that following The Mediterranean Diet reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer. Whether or not you lose weight on The Mediterranean Diet depends on the recipes you make and quantity of food that you eat. However, it is likely that by moving away from a diet high in unhealthy fats, processed foods, sweets and fatty meats while including more exercise in your diet will result in weight loss as well. From a practical standpoint, I can see that following The Mediterranean Diet more closely will also help my husband control his diabetes.  The reduction of sweets and staying away from processed grains is certainly something that his diabetes awareness classes have taught us is important for his diabetes control.  Have you tried The Mediterranean Diet yet?