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Matera Caves, southern Italy
Matera Caves, Southern Italy
 
Mediterranean Diet Review
by George Pierce
George Pierce

The Mediterranean Diet is based on the eating patterns of Southern Italy, Greece, and Spain in the 1940's and 50's.  This diet is high in legumes, olive oil, fruits, vegetables and unrefined cereals.  It is moderate to high in the consumption of fish and dairy (mostly cheese and yogurt).  Consumption of non-fish meat and non-fish meat products is low.  

How the Mediterranean Diet is ranked by US. News:
  • Best Diets for Healthy Eating...#3
  • Best Diets Overall...#4
  • Best Heart-Healthy Diets...#5
  • Easiest Diets to Follow...#5
  • Best Weight-Loss Diets...#16
  • Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets....#27
Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

How does it work?

As a weight loss diet, it does not work well, unless you reduce the caloric intake.  The Mediterranean Diet is not exactly a 'weight loss' diet. but that is not a bad thing.  In fact, it can be a good thing.  This diet it simply a healthy diet, which means that it fairly easy to follow and maintain.

US. News considers it to be a weight loss diet, I do not.  Eating healthy and avoiding such things as refined foods, sugar, and salt may contribute to weight loss initially,  but a simple lowering of calories to create a caloric deficit is all the tweaking that this diet will need to be an excellent weight loss option.

Basic Components of the Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean diet meals are mostly fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes   Fish and seafood are used  rather than red meat and chicken, which are used rarely.  Olive Oil is an important part of this Diet.  Seasoning foods is basic. No gravies and sauces. 
 
Foods that are avoided or used rarely are sweets and refined carbs, eggs, butter, and red meats.

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Positives:

Easy to follow and maintain
Considered to be a very healthy diet
Fairly flexible
Focuses on healthy organic foods
May lower cholesterol
Helps stabilize blood sugar levels
Lowers risk of heart disease

Negatives:

Olive oil and nuts contain fats which could mean weight gain rather than loss.

Yogurt is an important food in this diet...be careful when buying yogurt, it is usually loaded with sugar (Plain yogurt is about 12 grams and sweetened yogurt comes in around 47 grams of sugar per cup...about 10 teaspoons!   No fat yogurt can contain as much as 20 grams of sugar)

I suggest that you Stick with Greek Yogurt simply for lower sugar (and still read the label!)  

This is what you are looking for: (about 5g to 6g sugar)


Greek yougurt label


This diet is considered to be low in iron.  Iron deficiency can be offset with an absorbable iron supplement.  Taking iron supplementation with vitamin C provides you with the most benefit. 

Wine is a part of this diet, which, of course, is not acceptable for people who have problems with alcohol abuse, are pregnant or have a high risk of breast cancer.

Resources:  Click to access Mediterranean diet sample menu

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Conclusion:

The Mediterranean Diet is a healthy diet that can be used to lose weight by lowering caloric intake to where you have a deficit.   It is quite easy to follow and reasonably easy to live with and maintain, so I suggest that you put it on your list of diets to consider.  I give the Mediterranean Diet two thumbs up!

Thank you, my friends, for reading.  I wish you much success on your weight loss journey.


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