Is the Mediterranean diet a real weight loss program or is it just another fad?
There are many fad diets that suggest carbohydrates and fat are the main culprits in weight gain and heart disease. This has lead to many fad diets to focus on low-carb dieting. However, the findings of a 1993 Harvard Medical School study revealed that carbohydrates and fats were not main problems, and suggested the “right” fats and carbohydrates should be the basis for a healthy diet. The study pointed to low rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease throughout the Mediterranean region as proof of their contention.
So, exactly what is the Mediterranean diet and can it help you lose weight?
There actually is no ‘Mediterranean’ diet. Instead, the Mediterranean diet is a compilation of the way that people in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea eat. While there were some differences, all of the countries studied based their diets on the same proportions of food groups and calories, and all included olive oil as their main source of fat. In fact, their Mediterranean diet contained far more carbohydrates and fats than the recommendations made by the USDA. Still, the evidence was irrefutable. Therefore, it must have been the type of carbohydrates and fats that make the difference.
The basic Mediterranean diet consists of the following guidelines:
* 60% of total carbohydrates from grains, fruits and vegetables
Those include whole rice, fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grain breads and cereals, polenta, pasta (made with whole grain, not refined white flour).
* Sparing use of red meat, fish and poultry
The typical adult Mediterranean consumes about 15 ounces of red meat and poultry per week. Another 5-15 ounces of fish per week account for the bulk of their meat protein intake. Compare that to the typical American diet which might include a 1 pound steak for dinner one night, a 1/2 pound chicken breast the next, and on and on.
* Olive Oil
Olive oil is not a miracle oil. It is, however, monounsaturated – a good fat. Monounsaturated fats help lower cholesterol rather than raising it, and are healthy ways to add fats to your diet (and yes, even though we think of fat as a dirty word, your body does need some, or it can’t use many of the vitamins you feed it!)
The Harvard study also revealed another important component, the Mediterranean lifestyle is active. The typical Mediterranean day includes walking rather than driving, physical activity in the fields or the home and recreation. Physical activity and exercise are vital in helping the body to lose weight, and maintain weight loss.
The secret to losing weight with the Mediterranean diet is to base your meals on healthy carbohydrates – leafy green vegetables, brightly colored vegetables, whole grains and meals. Use meat sparingly – no more than 3-6 ounces per day. Derive dietary fat from vegetable sources – or from fish oil. Exercise regularly to boost your metabolism. The Mediterranean diet isn’t an actual weight loss program. It’s a new way of eating that will help you reach your ideal weight and maintain that weight loss.
Copyright 2006 Adam Waxler
About the author:
Adam Waxler publishes the Weight-Loss-Power-Package…a collection of six weight loss ebooks guaranteed to help you lose weight. For more information on the Atkins Diet check out the complete package here:
and check out his blog for free weight loss tips here: