The Mediterranean Diet has received lots of press as a healthy lifestyle choice for people looking to fight heart disease and diabetes, lose weight, and live longer. So what is the Mediterranean Diet? And can it actually help you lose weight?
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
According to CNN, “A Mediterranean diet… is heavy on vegetables and legumes, fish, fruit, nuts and whole grains. The food is cooked with olive oil. Carnivores on the diet keep poultry and lean cuts of meat on the menu.” By eliminating or greatly reducing consumption of red meat, processed foods and added sugars, the Mediterranean Diet avoids many of the contributors to an unhealthy lifestyle.
What are the Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet?
Evidence suggests that the Mediterranean Diet can be beneficial in reducing cardiovascular disease, diabetes risks, and other ailments. WebMD notes, “This diet scores big for heart health and longevity. Studies suggest it may make you less likely to get heart disease, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, help you manage diabetes, and help you avoid certain cancers and chronic diseases.”
In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine found that a diet rich in extra virgin olive oil, mixed nuts and red wine—a diet very similar to the Mediterranean Diet—could reduce risk of heart attack or stroke by up to 30 percent.
Does the Mediterranean Diet Help With Losing Weight?
Despite studies showing the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, the diet plan is not a panacea for weight loss. Many of the foods recommended by the diet (such as nuts and olive oil) are high in calories and can actually contribute to weight gain.
“The key is moderation,” explains Rachel K. Johnson, Chair of the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee. “The participants [in one study] were encouraged to include four tablespoons of olive oil per day in their diet. This is high in calories. The recommended amount of wine was one glass per day or seven glasses per week. At the end of the day it is about balance and moderation. If you add healthy fats, such as extra virgin olive oil and nuts to your diet, you need to eliminate the other less healthy foods to avoid gaining weight.”
While weight loss can be achieved with the Mediterranean Diet, it is important to manage calories consumed and expended to ensure you achieve weight loss results.
Do You Need to Exercise to Lose Weight on the Mediterranean Diet?
Like any weight loss plan, exercise is encouraged on the Mediterranean Diet. (Consult your physician before starting any new exercise regimen.) Exercise can promote cardiovascular fitness, muscle and bone density, and weight control to add benefits that a diet plan cannot produce on its own. Exercise is especially important with the Mediterranean Diet as it can help combat the effects of high-fat, calorically dense foods.
How Can I Find a Diet Plan to Lose Weight?
To be effective in losing weight, we suggest seeking out a registered dietitian or nutritionist to create a customized meal plan based on your individual goals and lifestyle. A proper meal plan can help you achieve rapid, sustainable weight loss.
At Weigh Less Global, our registered dietitians & nutritionists perform a full evaluation of all of our clients and develop unique meal plans and exercise regimens specific to your goals. Our weight loss clinic is conveniently located in the heart of Fort Lee, New Jersey. To schedule your free consultation please call us today at 201-944-0283.