In the diet rat race, it's hard to please all of the people all of the time. There's always some expert who can find something "wrong" with whatever diet happens to be on top. However, one plan that has managed to get by unscathed is the renowned Mediterranean Diet that has received laurels from doctors, nutritionists and researchers alike over the last few years.
The Mediterranean Diet is hardly a new concept, having been around for more than 1,000 years. Studies show that people who follow the healthy eating plan live longer and have a lower risk of heart disease and cancer. A recent study also showed that people suffering from metabolic syndrome who followed the Mediterranean Diet lost more weight than their counterparts on a low-fat diet. Another group of dieters lost the same amount of pounds as subjects on a low-fat diet. However, those following the Mediterranean Diet maintained their loss more effectively.
There are at least 16 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea that have a diet made up of similar characteristics. While the specific diet may vary from country to country, the basic principles are the same. Consume large amounts of fruits, vegetables, bread and other cereals, potatoes, beans, nuts and seeds. Use olive oil as a source of monounsaturated fat. Eat dairy, fish and poultry in low to moderate amounts. Intake of red meat and eggs should be limited. Wine should be consumed in low to moderate amounts. The antioxidants and essential fats found in these foods contribute to better health.
The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid is vastly different from the USDA pyramid. Meat is to be eaten on a monthly basis. Sweets, eggs, poultry and fish should be eaten on a weekly basis. Cheese and yogurt, olive oil, fruits, beans, nuts, legumes, vegetables, bread, pasta, rice and other whole grains should be enjoyed on a daily basis.
On the bottom tier, there is a place for daily physical activity. This is a key factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
By eating foods rich in flavor and healthy fats and exercising on a regular basis, you'll reap the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.