The Mediterranean Diet (cont.)

Studies show that calorie-controlled diets rich in plant foods, healthy fats, and lean protein -- like the Mediterranean diet -- are a nutritious formula for weight loss. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a Mediterranean diet was as effective as a low-fat diet for losing weight and also offered some metabolic benefits.

"Research continues to demonstrate that being physically active and eating a nutritious diet of primarily whole foods that are filling and satisfying can enable people to control weight," says cardiologist Arthur Agatston, MD, creator of the South Beach Diet, which is based on the Mediterranean diet model.

Some other perks of living the Mediterranean lifestyle include a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's and heart disease, says cardiologist Robert Eckel, MD, past president of the American Heart Association.

Mediterranean Diet: What You Can Eat

There is not a single "Mediterranean diet." Instead, it's a dietary pattern of plant foods, monounsaturated fats (mainly olive oil), fish, and limited amounts of animal products.

The basic Mediterranean diet pattern is as follows:

  • Legumes: Eat daily.
  • Fruit: 2.5 cups daily.
  • Vegetables: 2 cups daily.
  • Fish: More than twice weekly.
  • Nuts: A handful daily.
  • Meat/poultry: Less than 4 ounces daily.
  • Dairy products: 2 cups of a low-fat variety daily.
  • Wine: 1 daily serving for women, two for men.
  • Fats: Use primarily monounsaturated fats.
  • Eggs: Less than 4 per week.

Some tips for embracing the Mediterranean style of eating:

  • Select whole grains for your breads, cereals, and other starches.
  • Choose nuts, seeds, legumes, fish, low-fat dairy, and poultry to satisfy your protein needs (you can include lean meat on occasion as well).
  • Most importantly, reduce the amount of saturated and trans fats in your diet. Use olive or canola oil instead of butter or margarine.
  • If you choose to drink alcohol, enjoy it as a glass of wine with lunch and/or dinner.

© 2005-2016 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
Source article on WebMD


Health Solutions From Our Sponsors