The Mediterranean Diet – Everything You Need To Know

Ask most people if they’re happy with their weight and they’ll most likely respond with no. Body image is important to almost everyone and the want to alter this image is on the minds of many people.

This desire to change our bodies and lose weight has created a huge industry of diets promising ways to lose weight. These diets all have a different set of rules and regulations that are sometimes based on solid science, but are sometimes just based on pseudoscience.

We’re currently running through some of the world’s most popular diets to bring you the best ways to lose weight and to help you eliminate the diets that will just not work for you. Diets come to fruition from a number of ways, sometimes they come from other areas of research where nutrition plans have been discovered to help with weight loss, and sometimes they come from the ideas of one individual or health professional.

The next diet we are bringing info focus is the Mediterranean Diet.

This diet has been well publicized for a number of years and refers to an area in Europe where people enjoy a specific variety of foods. We’re going to detail what the specifics of the diet are and will also explain why it could help you with weight loss and even prevent diseases.

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What is the Mediterranean diet?

This diet is inspired by the eating habits of people living in the Spain, Greece, and Southern Italy in the 1940s and 1950s. These people were found to have much better health when compared to individuals living in America and they also had a much lower risk of many different diseases. The diet can be very effective and losing weight, whilst also preventing strokes, heart attacks and type 2 diabetes.

A recent review of the diet took place in 2017 and found evidence that the diet can also help decrease the risk of early death. This might also be in part to the Mediterranean lifestyle, which is fairly active, but there’s no doubt that the diet is a contributing factor.

In 2013 the Mediterranean diet was added to the UNESCO list of ‘Representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity of Italy’, which signifies how significant the diet is. 

Why is the Mediterranean diet so effective for weight loss?

Any diet will be effective if it is balanced and based on getting plenty of fresh produce. The Mediterranean is the epitome of fresh and it promotes a lot of natural food, whilst limiting the amount of processed food in your diet.

If you stick to the diet and keep your portions sensible then there’s no doubt that it will help you lose weight. The diet is relatively high in fat, which is normally considered bad for weight loss, but it is the types of fat that are gained that still help you along the weight loss journey.

It is also worth mentioning that the diet embodies a lifestyle as well as a specific set of foods. The Mediterranean lifestyle also benefits from people begin active and keeping fit. Alcohol consumption is also kept lower, especially when compared to other countries, and smoking is also limited too.

How to begin a Mediterranean diet?

The diet has a relatively lose set of rules because it is based on such a large number of different peoples lives. Because it comes from people living around the Mediterranean in different countries, it would be difficult to specifically pinpoint set rules.

The basics of the diet are foods that are fully approved, foods that you can eat in moderation, foods that you can only occasionally eat, and then foods that should be totally avoided. They are defined as the following:

Foods you’re allowed to eat on the Mediterranean diet:

  • Seafood
  • Fish
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Seeds & Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Potatoes
  • Breads
  • Herbs
  • Whole grains
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Foods you’re allowed to eat in moderation on the Mediterranean diet:

  • eggs
  • poultry
  • cheese
  • yoghurt.

Foods you’re rarely allowed to eat on the Mediterranean diet:

  • red meat

Foods to avoid on the Mediterranean diet:

  • sugar-sweetened beverages
  • anything with added sugar
  • processed meat
  • refined grains
  • refined oils
  • any highly processed foods.

There are some different trains of thought on the exact rules and foods to be included in the Mediterranean diet. These ideas change depending on which country you will be speaking to.

Drinks on the diet are relatively limited but this is often the case when dieting. Water will be your primary beverage and be sure to drink plenty everyday. An occasional drop of alcohol is allowed in the form of red wine but be sure to not go overboard.

Tea and coffee are allowed on the diet but you need to avoid fizzy drinks, fruit juices, and any other sugar-sweetened drinks. 

How long should I be on a Mediterranean for?

The Mediterranean diet is well balanced and for many people it would make a great lifestyle change. Because it removes processed foods and replacing them with natural products, it could deliver many health benefits, and not just weight loss.

This diet is potentially one that could be carried on for a very long period of time, if not indefinitely. You might find that once you start the diet that you easily transition into it and don’t want to stop – the tasty food might certainly sway you!

If it isn’t a diet that you want to stay on forever then it’s best to just keep watch of the progress that you make whilst on it. Set yourself a weight that you want to get to and keep watch with a weight diary. Once you’ve reached your target you can decide whether you will stay on the diet or not.

Supplements to use with the diet

The Mediterranean diet will should not lead to any major deficiencies but it might be worth getting some calcium and vitamin D supplements because you will be getting less of them in your diet.

If you want to look at speeding the diet up then supplements will be the way forward for you. One option is metabolism booster pills that will help you burn food more effectively. Organic selenium is one of the best supplements and will help you with your weight loss.

Side effects of the Mediterranean diet

Research and studies into the diet have shown conclusively that people living in the Mediterranean are healthier thanks to their diet and lifestyle. It is worth noting though that their bodies are better acclimatised at dealing with their diets and this is locked into their genes.

We all have our parents and grandparents to thanks for how we have been brought up and food is an important part of this. Our bodies are generally used to the foods that we have been brought up on and this is also true with people living in the Mediterranean. If you drastically change your diet then you will be at risk of it affecting you differently because you’re not used to it.

The diet is higher in fat so keep a log of your weight when you’re on the diet. If you are unsure of anything else then contact a health professional in the first instance. 

Conclusion

There is certainly no doubting the credentials of the Mediterranean diet. It is also an interesting diet because it is based on the specific diets of people that were living naturally and not specifically designing their diet based on anything other than what was available to them.

The balance of food in the diet is appealing and you won’t struggle with creating tasty dishes from the available ingredients. This makes it an easy to follow diet that will be relatively easy to stick to.

As always its best that you plan your diet to the fullest and make sure that you know what foods you can and cannot eat, and meal plans are the best way to do this. You should also make sure that you’re going to be keeping fit and active because that is also key to losing weight.