4 Tips for Living and Loving the Mediterranean Diet

4 Tips for Living and Loving the Mediterranean Diet

A couple of new studies have come out recently that have only reinforced the value of the Mediterranean Diet—a diet that focuses on whole, unprocessed foods like fish, grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats from sources like olive oil and nuts, but low in dairy products, red meat, and processed foods.

A new study from the New England Journal of Medicine showed that a Mediterranean Diet (the participants lived in Spain) with extra doses of olive oil or nuts reduced risk of heart attack or stroke in high-risk patients by as much as 30 percent.

Another study found that after teaching food-insecure people visiting food banks how to cook quick, easy, plant-based meals, their grocery spending went way down. In fact, most participants decreased their weekly grocery bill by $40 per week, and many no longer had to rely on the food pantry.

Better health and less spending? Sounds like a miracle to me!

But it’s not that hard to implement.

Dr. Jim Barnard PhD, a Professor Emeritus at UCLA,  created four tips outlining what you really need to know about how to follow the Mediterranean Diet and how to achieve the weight and health reductions the Mediterranean Diet headlines promise:

4 tips for living the Mediterranean Diet from LaughingLemonPie.com
4 tips for living the Mediterranean Diet

4 Tips to Follow the Mediterranean Diet:

1.       Focus on whole, unprocessed foods to lose weight

One benefit the Mediterranean Diet does demonstrate is its focus on whole, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables and fish – however, these foods combined with high levels of wine, oil and red meat will outweigh the healthy foods incorporated in the diet. Focus on the whole, unprocessed foods to keep your daily fat intake low and keep heart and cardiovascular issues down. Excluding calorie-dense foods like oils and nuts will also lead to a decrease of weight, which was not the case in the Mediterranean Diet study—participants noticed that no weight was lost over a 5-year period on the Diet.

2.       Keep sodium levels to 1,500mg per day with little or no added sugars and saturated fats for positive health effects

Americans currently take in about 3,500mg of sodium per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and following the Mediterranean Diet will not decrease sodium intake or provide any positive health effects. Instead, follow other diet plans like the Pritikin Program that suggest lowering sodium levels to 1,500mg per day—his change will have long-term health effects on the body.

3.       Stick to a True Diet that’s Low in Fat

Although the Mediterranean Diet Study was paired against participants on a “low fat diet;” the fat intake on their supposed low-fat diet was only decreased from 39 percent to 37 percent—in which participants reported no noticeable weight loss. To achieve successful weight loss, limit your daily fat intake to 10–15 percent. Pritikin scientific studies demonstrate that this decrease will dramatically reduce virtually every modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease and excessive weight or obesity.

4.       Understand portions Before Undergoing Diets

Understanding the portion sizes each diet requires is essential before committing to a specific diet plan. The Mediterranean Diet incorporates high levels of calorie-dense foods such as oils and nuts; however, these foods will not provide any noticeable weight loss unless high intensity activity is also incorporated into the diet and even then, will only positively affect people that are active and close to their ideal weight. For those looking to lose weight, too much oil and other refined fats will likely add, not subtract, to our already plump waistlines, heightening the risk of all sorts of devastating diseases, including this country’s No. 1 killer: heart disease.

Original Photo Credit: 96dpi via Compfight cc

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