The Mediterranean diet has outlived countless weight-loss fads. Here’s how it can help you
- October 22, 2020
Unlike many diets, the Mediterranean diet doesn’t promote a specific step-by-step eating pattern or menu planner.
Instead, it offers an over-arching philosophy to lifelong healthy eating habits.
A number of studies into the traditional diet of the people from the island of Crete, in Greece — along with other Mediterranean populations — have found this diet particularly beneficial for good heart health.
Over the years, there have been numerous translations of the diet and it’s increasingly being used as a means of controlling weight as well as improving overall health.
What’s in the Mediterranean diet?
- Vegetables at every meal (any kind, particularly green, leafy ones as well as tomatoes);
- Healthy sources of fat (such as olive oil, nuts and seeds);
- Breads, wholegrain cereals and legumes;
- Low to very low amounts red meat;
- Moderate amounts of yoghurt, cheese, and eggs;
- Sweets consumed only occasionally as special treats;
- Herbs and spices used to flavour foods;
- Wine consumed regularly, but only in small amounts and always with a meal.
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Sample Mediterranean menu
Breakfast: A hard-boiled egg, bread topped with tomato, red onion, cucumber, herbs and olive oil, plus yoghurt with honey.
Snack: A small handful of almonds.
Lunch: Soup made with white beans and vegetables, sprinkled with crumbled feta, wholegrain bread, and some apricots (fresh or dried).
Dinner: Grilled fish with lemon and herbs, roasted vegetables, and one glass of wine.
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Expert opinion of the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet is often promoted for its proven benefits on heart health and reducing the risk of diabetes.
But it is also gaining recognition as an effective tool in weight management, especially when coupled with portion control or kilojoule reduction.
It is a balanced diet as there are no restrictions on major food groups.
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Meanwhile, the consumption of red meat is low — from a couple of times per month (traditional Cretan diet) to small portions of less than 100g a few times a week (modern translations).
It is not a prescriptive diet and for many people, the lack of menu planners and step-by-step eating patterns may make it difficult for them to get motivated.
There are Mediterranean and, in particular, Cretan cookbooks, but it’s up to you to devise your own weight loss steps and goals and to devise your meals according to the basic principles and the Mediterranean diet pyramid.
However, this has the advantage of making us think about our food choices.
This is general information only. For detailed personal advice, you should see a qualified medical practitioner who knows your medical history.
This story, which was originally written by Pamela Wilson and published by ABC Health and Wellbeing, has been reviewed by Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM, nutritionist and visiting fellow, School of Medical Sciences, University of NSW, in 2019.
Posted 9 FebFebruary 2020SunSunday 9 FebFebruary 2020 at 8:15pm, updated 9 FebFebruary 2020SunSunday 9 FebFebruary 2020 at 8:35pm