The Mediterranean Diet – Good or Bad?

Is the Mediterranean diet worth a shot, and why?

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Rachel Carney, Contributor


The new year is here, and one of the biggest resolutions known is to attempt to make better eating or health choices, but most of all, to lose weight. Out of 1,102 people asked about their new year’s resolution, 473 said that they wanted to make changes to their health or food choices. If you or someone you know would be one of those people, one of the most beneficial ways to accomplish this resolution is to follow a Mediterranean food diet. Like most things, following this short-term diet may come at a cost, but it can still prove to be extremely beneficial and for multiple reasons, too.

This diet originated from following the healthy food habits of the Mediterranean people. It was designed to imitate or reflect typical or average food patterns of Crete, Italy, and a lot of Greece from the early 1960s.

To be expected, there are many recommended food items and drinks that you should eat in order to properly follow the diet. The diet is very heavily plant-based, and many of the recommended foods include fruits, vegetables, etc. These recommended items include, but are not limited to:

  • Many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains of different kinds
  • Healthy, beneficial fats such as seeds, nuts, olive oil, etc
  • Little amounts of dairy or fish
  • Few eggs, white, or red meat
  • An average amount of red wine, not too much of it

The diet, of course, is more than just recommended foods. There are some important precautions and some miscellaneous information that might prove to be helpful. If you or someone you know plan on following diet, make sure that the things listed below are kept in mind; for they may be crucial for certain people to know:

  • The diet may not be as beneficial to people who have to restrict or limit their fat intake or consumption.
  • The diet has a very high focus on plant-based foods, as shown by the list of recommended foods provided above.
  • Drinks mostly include moderate amounts of red wine, water, and sparkling water. Average amounts that are not too many, dangerous, or abnormal will prove to be the most effective with the diet.

And understandably, the diet, like most diets, do not just consist of foods and drinks imperative to the diet itself. With foods that are imperative to eat, there are foods that are imperative to avoid for the sake of the diet, as well, and these foods have been listed below:

  • Refined oils, e.g. canola oil, or soybean oil
  • Excessive sugar or sugary foods such as sodas, candies, pastries, etc
  • Processed meats such as deli meats and hot dogs
  • raspberries on white ceramic mug with saucerPackaged or other processed foods

One of the many points of most diets, of course, is to come out of it with certain achievements or benefits. The Mediterranean diet is no different, and of course, it has its own achievements and benefits to come out with:

  • A lowered risk of cardiovascular disease or cardiovascular issues, such as strokes, heart attacks, and other fatal issues
  • Improved sleeping quality more commonly in older figures (research proves that sleeping quality does not seem to be as different in younger individuals who follow the diet)
  • Weight loss. Research done on the Mediterranean diet proved that it was more effective for losing weight than a low-fat diet.

With the information provided above, the diet does prove to be effective, however, nearly all diets have both benefits and detriments for them, and the Mediterranean diet is no different. To start, though, why is it beneficial? Why might the Mediterranean diet be a good choice, and why is it recommended?

  • The diet is doable; it does not heavily focus on unhealthy or poisoning foods. A diet would not be very easy to follow if it focused heavily on foods that commonly trigger allergies, or stomachaches, etc. The Mediterranean diet, on the other hand, relies on mostly plant-based and healthy foods.
  • If you are someone with lower metabolism, you’re in luck. A lot of enjoyable foods that many people love are in this diet, yet they are still healthy and effective.
  • The diet is low in saturated fat.
  • As said above, the diet has many health benefits, including a lowered risk of disease.

And of course, while the diet comes with its benefits, it comes with its detriments too. Every diet will have some hdumplings on cast iron panhypothetical cons, even if they apply more to one person than another; depending on the circumstance. The Mediterranean diet is no different, as its cons have been listed below:

  • Milk intake is limited, as is fat intake.
  • If you are someone who is often busy, or doesn’t have much free time at all, this diet might not be the right one for you, as you often have to find time to cook your own food, and this might be tedious or difficult, depending on the meal you are making.
  • Cooking; if you are physically incapable of cooking for whatever reason, this diet might not be a good fit. Meal plans often call for cooking or making food yourself, and there are many reasons as to why someone might be unable to cook.

 

With the pros and cons in mind, it’s also necessary to determine the cost before jumping into the diet. According to a study done in the United States, healthy diets tend to cost more, and the Mediterranean diet is no exception to this. This study shows that diets such as the Mediterranean one cost up to $1.48 more per day, or another $1.54 every 2,000 calories. And while this diet isn’t necessarily long-term, that adds up to be a lot more than a diet that isn’t as strictly reliant or limited to certain healthy foods such as this one. Though, based on the information provided above, it’s really up to you whether or not this diet is worth this price.

However, none of these things matter if none of them are true. So, how do we know they’re true? Well, a study with a whopping 26,000 woman has proved that at least 25% of them had a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and “overall mortality.” 25% may only be a quarter, but that adds up to be 6,500 people out of the 26,000 interviewed. And that’s merely a rough estimate.

To be expected, though, here’s more to the diet than just the facts provided above. The diet also has a few long-term consequences that accompany it, the biggest one being that the reduced risk of cardiovascular disease decreases over time with aging.

red cherries on clear glass bowl

Yet, all the information provided above proves to be somewhat pointless if you don’t know a daily meal plan. While it is definitely doable to create your own, seeing a pre-made one seems fitting for getting a good idea of what kind of meal plan the diet actually follows. For this reason, a single day’s meal plan has been provided below:

  • Breakfast:
    • One egg, pan-fried, toast, whole wheat, and grilled tomatoes
  • Lunch:
    • Mixed salad greens (2 cups) with olives, cherry tomatoes, and dressed with vinegar and olive oil, whole-grain pita bread, and two oz (ounces) of your choice hummus
  • Dinner:
    • Whole grain pizza with tomato sauce, topped with grilled cheese and low-fat vegetables

If you were to ask my personal opinion on the diet, my answer would be that, if you have reason to follow it, it is extremely beneficial and worth a shot. Based on my research, the lowered risk of disease is high, the chances of weight loss are high, and countless other benefits that the diet comes with. Based on these things, I’d say that the diet is definitely worth your attention.


Photo Credit (in order shown):

Featured photo credit: @brookelark on Unsplash.com

@glencarrie on Unsplash.com

@louishansel on Unsplash.com

@mili_vigerova on Unsplash.com

 

Information credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediterranean_diet

https://www.livescience.com/41732-healthy-diets-cost.html

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324221.php

https://www.insider.com/popular-new-years-resolutions-health-2018-12

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/mediterranean-diet/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0026286214001198

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17468091