Which Diet is Best for Long-Term Weight-Loss?
October 06, 2023
Having a hard time telling the difference between fad diets and lasting, sustainable nutrition plans? Scrolling through social media can add to this exasperation with conflicting advice, ever-changing health trends and misinformation. Save yourself the stress of content overload.
Instead, it may be time to reconsider a classic diet that has stood the test of time. Year after year, scientists and researchers have studied various dietary patterns, and the Mediterranean diet always emerges on top for its health benefits.
But exactly what is the Mediterranean diet?
A Mediterranean diet can be described as the traditional eating pattern followed by the olive growing countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea in the mid-20th century, when fast food was not prevalent. There is no single Mediterranean diet; different countries in that region have slight variations in their diets, but they share many common parameters. Researchers who studied the eating patterns in these countries in the mid-20th century found its inhabitants experienced a lower rate of chronic diseases and higher than average adult life expectancy.
According to Harvard Health, the Mediterranean diet is characterized by a diet including:
- An abundance of plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes, which are minimally processed, seasonally fresh, and grown locally.
- Olive oil as the principal source of fat.
- Cheese and yogurt, consumed daily in low to moderate amounts.
- Fish and poultry, consumed in low to moderate amounts a few times a week.
- Red meat, consumed infrequently and in small amounts.
- Fresh fruit for dessert, with sweets containing added sugars or honey eaten only a few times each week.
- Wine consumed in low to moderate amounts, usually with meals.
Following a Mediterranean diet is beneficial for a multitude of reasons, including improving or even preventing the development of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, depression, diabetes, obesity, erectile dysfunction and cognitive decline. However, it is important to understand that you may not get all of these health benefits just by adding extra olive oil and nuts in your diet; adopting the Mediterranean diet as a whole eating pattern is the key.