One of the newest fads in dieting is the Mediterranean diet. It is a diet based on the way people eat in Greece, Southern Italy, and Spain. The diet consists of a lot of olive oil, fruits, vegetables, fish, dairy, poultry, and the best part wine. Red meat consumption is kept to a minimum. An active lifestyle is also needed to make this diet effective. It was actually introduced in the 1940s, but didn’t gain popularity until the 1990’s. The Mediterranean diet’s popularity is based on the fact that despite eating high amounts of oil, people of the region typically have better cardiovascular health than people in the U S. So, what is the truth about this diet?
Mediterranean Diet – The Good
It’s Heart Healthy
According to the Mayo Clinic the Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of heart disease. 1.5 million Americans who followed this diet showed that it reduced death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Following the diet also reduced the risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Prevent and Control Diabetes
According to US News the Mediterranean diet helps you to lose weight. Weight loss helps with the fight against type 2 diabetes. It’s all been shown that the Mediterranean diet may improve levels of hemoglobin A1C, a measure of blood sugar. Which all points to how great the Mediterranean diet can be for the fight against diabetes.
Consume Less Saturated Fat
Even though you consume olive oil, according to the American Heart Association the Mediterranean diet contains less saturated fat than the average American’s diet which is loaded with bad fats. Also, the amount of saturated fat in the Mediterranean diet is well within the Heart Associations guidelines.
People Claim Results
Followers of this diet are giving great reviews, one person said: ”I've tried to incorporate some of these principles into my diet over the last year and a half after I had some medial issues. I lost quite a bit of weight without really trying, and I feel a lot better because of that.” Another firm believer uses this diet to treat their fibromyalgia saying: “This is the eating plan I use for Fibromyalgia. It's not a diet, but a general eating regimen. Along with daily stretching exercises and meditation at night, I'm able to keep pain to a bare minimum about 95% of the time”
Mediterranean Diet – The Bad
According to The Food Network the diet can get rather expensive. Olive oil is one of the more expensive oils you can buy. Also fresh fish can cost a pretty penny. Quality food costs more than the cheaper and faster food options. You also need to plan out shopping lists and make sure to take time to cook.
If you are looking to lose weight, this may not be the diet for you. According to Boston University the Mediterranean diet is not a diet designed for losing weight. One person who tried this diet said “I talked my mom into joining this diet with me, she said if I cook it she will eat it. We are about to wrap up week 2 but what I find curious is we both gained exactly 4 lbs. the first week.”
As with most diets, the Mediterranean diet is over hyped. The current fascination over the Mediterranean diet is from an article from the New York Times that used a rather large study for its source. The problem with the study is, not everyone followed the exact same diet. Also, not everyone followed the diet guidelines so the results are questionable.
Not a Quick Fix
The Mediterranean diet is not really a diet, but is a lifestyle change. With the Mediterranean diet you need to educate yourself about a new way to eat. You need learn about what foods to eat and how to cook them. You need commit yourself to do this. The Mediterranean diet isn’t about portion size and there are no real clear cut diet plans, so you need to be dedicated. If you can’t change your lifestyle and dedicate yourself, the Mediterranean diet isn’t for you. One critic said “No one has successfully defined a "Mediterranean diet" so it’s hard to follow.
As with all diets, the Mediterranean diet has pros and cons. The Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and diabetes. Also, many people are claiming that the diet works wonders for them. The Mediterranean diet really isn’t a diet as much as a lifestyle change, and has no clear-cut plan to follow. It really makes it hard to decide if it’s right for you or not. But as with any diet, as long as you reduce your caloric intake and increase your daily activity you will see results. With the Mediterranean diet, enjoy a glass of wine while you do it!