Mediterranean Diet

does the Mediterranean Diet work?

If you’ve been looking for a meal plan that helps you lose weight, chances are you’ve come across the Mediterranean Diet. It has been around for a number of decades but has really caught on since the early 2000’s. In this review, I’ll take a look at what this diet entails and whether or not it can help you achieve your weight loss goals.

Want to start on this diet?

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

It has been around since the 1960’s and was developed to mimic the consumption of residents of Italy and Greece, after noting that these individuals had exceptional health compared to Americans, and had much lower risks of many diseases that arise from poor diet and lifestyle choices.

What Can You Eat?

This diet is split up into foods that you can eat an unlimited amount of, some foods that you can consume in moderation, some foods that can rarely be eaten, and foods that you should avoid.

  • Eat Unlimited: Fruits, vegetables, seafood, seeds, legumes, nuts, whole herbs, spices, potatoes, extra virgin olive oil
  • Consume in Moderation: Eggs, poultry, dairies such as cheese and yogurt
  • Eat on Rare Occasion: Red meat (click here to read about lean cuts of beef)
  • Do Not Eat: Sodas and other sugary beverages, processed grains, added sugars, highly processed foods

What Can You Not Eat?

These are the unhealthy foods, as well as ingredients, that you should avoid when on the Mediterranean Diet:

  • Refined Grains: pasta made from refined wheat, white bread, etc.
  • Trans Fats: Often found in margarine and other highly processed foods
  • Added Sugar: Candy, soda, ice cream, granulated (table) sugar
  • Refined Oils: Canola/ cottonseed/soybean oil
  • Highly Processed Foods: If you see a label marketing the food as “diet” or “low fat”, it was likely factory-made and highly processed
  • Processed Meat: Sausages, hot dogs, bratwursts, etc.

To incorporate these “can” and “cannot” foods into your diet, pick up the Complete Mediterranean Diet Cookbook here!

Recommended Foods and Drinks

It is tough to decipher exactly what foods are “Mediterranean”, as there as so many countries that make up this region and their foods can be so varied. In general, the rule of thumb is to be heavy on plant-based foods and go lighter on animal foods. The exception to that rule is fish and seafood, which is suggested twice per week.

Example foods to include in your diet include:

  • Fruits: I put together a list of the healthiest fruits here, and this diet recommends apples, bananas, strawberries, peaches, oranges, grapes, melons, etc.
  • Vegetables: Click here to read my post about the best vegetables for weight loss. Examples include kale, broccoli, tomatoes, onions, spinach, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, Brussels sprouts.
  • Seeds and Nuts: Walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • Legumes: Peas, lentils, beans, chickpeas, peanuts
  • Starchy Vegetables (Tubers): Potatoes of all kinds, yams, turnips
  • Fish / Seafood: Salmon, trout, tuna, shrimp, oysters, crab, mussels, clams
  • Whole Grains: Whole grain oats, oatmeal, brown rice, corn, barley, rye, whole wheat and whole grain bread and pasta
  • Eggs
  • Poultry: Chicken, turkey, duck
  • Dairy: Yogurt, cheese, Greek yogurt – stay away from ice cream!
  • Healthy Fats: Extra virgin olive oil, avocados, avocado oil, olives

As for drinks, water should be at the top of your list. This diet also recommends – and I love this – a glass of red wine per day. Coffee and tea are also allowed but avoid adding sugar or fatty creamers. Avoid beverages that are sugar-sweetened, like fruit juices.

My Thoughts

I like this diet as, unlike other diets like the Cabbage Soup Diet (reviewed here), you aren’t starving yourself. You are simply making healthier choices when it comes to eating. It’s very similar to the Fast Metabolism Diet (info here) and the 17 Day Diet (more here), in that regard. Not to mention, the allowed foods in this diet are delicious and I could never grow tired of them. All in all, it’s a very satisfying and healthy meal plan that provides many weight loss and general health benefits.

Pick up some literature on the Mediterranean Diet – my favorite is this book on Amazon.

Mediterranean Diet
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T.J. LaPanta
About 

T.J. LaPanta is a Florida based aspiring comedian and health nut.
When he's not trying to hack his way through a post-graduate degree, he's slaving away in the kitchen, working out, or trying to score a date.

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