The Mediterranean Diet Causes Weight Loss and Other Health Benefits

There are a lot of meal plans that you can follow that will help you to lose weight, but not all have all the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.
I have followed many meal plans through the years, although I have never followed the Mediterranean Diet.  So, this month, I’m following this meal plan.  This is really not much different than my usual eating, because I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.  But I’ll be adding in more grains and some olive oil into my meal plans this month and trying out new recipes.

The Mediterranean Diet can be really beneficial for people with high triglycerides, or people at risk for diabetes, or people with diabetes or heart disease.  Also, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome can benefit from the Mediterranean Diet.  This post is an introduction to the Mediterranean Diet, and later this month I’ll share more information about what to eat and what to avoid, as well as meal plans and recipes.

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet eating plan is composed of mostly plant-based, high fiber meals that focus on whole grains, nuts, and fish. In the Mediterranean Diet, red meat, sweets, eggs and butter are avoided. Olive oil is the main fat.  The Mediterranean diet is not low in fat and derives about 35 to 45 percent of its calories from fat (in a low fat diet 20-30% of calories come from fat). However, the fats eaten tend to be healthier fats and higher in Omega 3, which is a type of healthy fat.

Does a Mediterranean Diet cause weight loss?

Yes!  People who follow a Mediterranean Diet lose weight.  In a study published in 2008, researchers compared people following three different meal plans, including a low-fat diet, the Mediterranean Diet and a low carbohydrate diet. Initially, the group following a low carbohydrate meal plan lost more weight. However, after two years, there was similar weight loss in all three groups.

What are the health benefits of a Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  The meal plan also has many other health benefits, including reducing the risk of breast cancer, depression, colorectal cancer, and cognitive decline. This eating plan is also known to slim the waist and improve cholesterol levels.

Is this diet difficult to follow?

Once you learn the structure and types of foods that are part of the Mediterranean diet, then the diet is fairly simple to understand and follow. Many people find this type of meal plan enjoyable and sustainable for the long-term. As part of the Mediterranean diet, you do not have to specifically count calories or limit portions, but it is possible to over eat the foods that are allowed on the diet even though you may think you are adhering to the plan. Overeating will prevent you from losing weight, and if this is the case you may need to track calories or limit portion sizes.

Where can I learn more?  

I will be adding more information throughout May about the Mediterranean Diet including lists of foods to eat and foods to avoid, as well as menus and recipes.  If you would like to receive the newsletter, you can sign up by clicking the banner on the top of this page.

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