In a previous article, we have discussed in more detail what this diet is and what it is about. To learn more and understand this article better you should read the article that gives an overview of the Mediterranean diet first.
This is a very popular diet among health-conscious individuals and people who want to lose weight.
As a refresher, the Mediterranean diet is composed mainly of the conventional foods and beverages of the nations that surround the Mediterranean sea.
It includes healthy eating and cooking habits such as the following:
- Good fats such as extra virgin olive oil, avocados, olives, and sunflower seeds.
- Limiting the consumption of sweets for special occasions only.
- Watching meat size portions.
- Preparing and consuming meals with no meat content at least once a week.
- Consuming nutrient-rich eggs and dairy products throughout the week.
- Limiting the consumption of seafood to only two times a week.
- Eating breakfast daily.
- Consuming lots of vegetables.
This article discusses some frequently asked questions about this diet.
The Mediterranean diet uses mainly olive oil and also includes nuts. Aren’t these high in fats?
When talking about fats in food, you should know two very important things. First, determine the kind of fat. Second, determine the amount of fat.
For example, even healthy fats, if taken in high amounts, can result in weight gain.
Trans fats and saturated fats are those found in foods that come from animal sources, such as eggs, dairy products, and meat.
Packaged cakes and cookies also contain trans fats.
The ideal thing to do is stay away or restrict your intake of trans fats or saturated fats because these kinds of fats can increase LDL-C (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) or the “bad” cholesterol, and lower the HDL-C (or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) or the “good” cholesterol.
On the other hand, the fats contained by nuts and olive oil are polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, which are “healthy” fats that do not increase LDL-C.
Then again, do not forget that olive oil and nuts are high in calories too, so you should consume them in reasonable quantities.
What are some tips for beginners on the Mediterranean diet?
It is best to make a meal plan for all your meals and snacks every week in advance.
This way, you will know which foods to stock up in your kitchen, and you will be motivated to follow the meals you planned.
By planning your meals in advance, it will be easier for you to eat healthily rather than snacking while cooking your food or going for unhealthy food because you are too hungry to control yourself.
Also, always substitute olive oil for meals that call for butter.
If possible, it is also recommended to consult with a professional dietitian so you can be guided more accurately in the food choices suitable for your lifestyle and culture.
Why is it called the Mediterranean Diet?
This way of eating is characteristic of the countries which surround the Mediterranean Sea, such as Lebanon, Libya, Croatia, Israel, Greece, Albania, Algeria, Turkey, Tunisia, Malta, Syria, Morocco, Egypt, Italy, France, and Spain.
Will I always feel hungry once I start following the Mediterranean Diet?
No. The Mediterranean Diet is not a diet wherein you will starve yourself.
Rather, it is a lifestyle.
It involves eating whole grains, nuts, beans, fish, vegetables, fruits, and meat in proper proportions and frequency coupled with regular physical activity.
As long as you follow these properly, you can still get to eat a lot and feel full longer while staying healthy and maintaining or losing your weight.
Is it easy to follow the Mediterranean Diet correctly?
It mainly depends on the person and their will. But the variety of food is large enough for everybody to appreciate this diet.
Some of the tips for following the Mediterranean diet are the following:
- Consume wine in moderation (up to two glasses a day for men, and up to one glass a day for women)
- Consume small portions of cheese and yogurt every day.
- Go for lean meat such as chicken, turkey, and fish, and beans as your source of protein. You can enjoy red meat on special occasions.
- Consume sweets during special occasions or as an occasional treat.
- Base your every meal on whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, spices, and herbs.
- Go for healthy fats such as those found in fish like tuna, salmon, sardines, and mackerel, avocados, nuts, and extra virgin olive oil.
Why should I abide by the Mediterranean Diet?
Studies conducted over the last six decades have proven that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets in the world.
Thanks to all the variety of food it offers, the diet is healthy and complete. Proteins, good fats, vegetables, fruits, dairy products etc…
Everything that our organism needs is available through this diet.
Is it true that the Mediterranean diet is just another fad diet?
First of all, the Mediterranean diet is a lifestyle. It is not a temporary diet to lose weight but a way of eating to should be followed in the long term.
It is a way of eating that is sustainable and has been proven consistently to improve health and lower the risk of chronic illnesses.
Is it true that the Mediterranean Diet is a fairly new way of eating?
No. Tons of studies on the Mediterranean diet have been conducted over the last six decades that show otherwise.
The Mediterranean diet started in the 1940s when a known researcher named Ancel Keys discovered that most of the people living in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and followed a Mediterranean-style diet had very low heart disease rates and were living longer those living in the northern part of Europe.
The so-called Mediterranean diet has started in the 40s but the Mediterranean way of eating has been around for way longer.
Will the Mediterranean Diet involve foods that are foreign and hard to access?
No. Almost every food included in the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid can be found in your local grocery store.
In fact, all you need are basically vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy products, fish, nuts, and olive oil. The diet can be adapted to the country and the ingredients available there but the concept should stay the same, no processed food and healthy ingredients only.
Am I allowed to consume sweets or meats if I follow the Mediterranean Diet?
The diet is not restrictive but red meats and sweets should be consumed occasionally.
Just like recommended by many, if not all professionals, sweets and red meat should be included in a person‘s diet but never on a daily basis but rather rarely.
Lean meat such as chicken, turkey, and fish are recommended to be eaten more often.
Is it true that I will lose weight if I follow the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is not necessarily a way of eating intended to make you lose weight, but weight loss is one of its added benefits if followed properly and depending on your way of eating prior to starting it.
This is because the Mediterranean diet involves eating healthy meals in proper portions coupled with regular physical activity.
If you are trying to get back in track and live a healthier lifestyle, you should give it a try. If you need tips to eat healthy before going for the Mediterranean diet, you can check other related articles linked below.