The aim: May include weight loss, heart and brain health, cancer prevention, and diabetes prevention and control.
The claim: You’ll lose weight, keep it off and avoid a host of chronic diseases.
The theory: It’s generally accepted that the folks in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea live longer and suffer less than most Americans from cancer and cardiovascular ailments. The not-so-surprising secret is an active lifestyle, weight control, and a diet low in red meat, sugar and saturated fat and high in produce, nuts and other healthful foods.
How does Mediterranean Diet work?
It depends – there isn’t “a” Mediterranean diet. Greeks eat differently from Italians, who eat differently from the French and Spanish. But they share many of the same principles. Working with the Harvard School of Public Health, Oldways, a nonprofit food think tank in Boston, developed a consumer-friendly Mediterranean diet pyramid that emphasizes eating fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, and flavorful herbs and spices; fish and seafood at least a couple of times a week; and poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt in moderation, while saving sweets and red meat for special occasions. Top it off with a splash of red wine (if you want), remember to stay physically active and you’re set.
Because this is an eating pattern – not a structured diet – you’re on your own to figure out how many calories you should eat to lose or maintain your weight, what you’ll do to stay active and how you’ll shape your Mediterranean menu.