There’s A New Diet In Town And It Involves Wine
Grow Talk by Sofy Robertson
It is the month of diets and resolutions, of staff room chats about your new healthy regime and boycotting biscuits in the office. With ‘healthy living’ and ‘wellness’ becoming as popular as the latest trends, everyone seems to have the answer to the best healthy living regime. The latest U.S News & World Report has found a new top diet, so it’s time to move over Keto, there’s a new diet on the scene and this one comes with a daily allowance of wine.
The Mediterranean Diet has been ranked as the best diet for 2019, knocking aside restrictive regimes like keto and paleo. The key difference with this diet is that it lists the foods you should be eating, rather than focusing on lengthy lists of those that you should avoid.
The benefits of the Mediterranean Diet seem to extend further than just weight loss; studies have shown that this diet can help you live a longer, healthier life. Doctors have even prescribed it for people suffering from heart disease, depression and dementia.
Sounds great so far, but surely there must be a catch? Grow Talk bring you the skinny on the latest diet to top the scene.
The Mediterranean Diet in a Nutshell
As the name suggests, this lifestyle is modelled after the collective lifestyles of Mediterraneans, specifically those inhabiting Crete, Greece and Southern Italy in the mid-20th century. At this point, these adults displayed low rates of chronic disease and higher-than-average adult life expectancy. As this diet comes from a wide geographical area, there are many forms but the most popular version that is followed today is based on the 1993 Mediterranean Diet Pyramid.
The Pyramid aims to familiarise people with the most common foods of the region, the majority of which are plant-based. The diet also includes small amounts of poultry, fish and dairy. Although the Pyramid suggests proportions for these foods, the most unusual aspect of the diet is that portion sizes are not regulated, thus the individual determines how much they should eat based on their own body size and type.
What You Should Be Eating on the Med Diet
- Fruits and vegetables; the Mediterranean Diet encourages its users to enjoy up to nine daily servings of antioxidant-rich produce.
- Healthy fats; yes there is such a thing. These include avocados, nuts and olive oil. Butter is not included.
- Whole grains; users can enjoy whole grain rice, pasta and bread as long as it is unrefined and served with olive oil rather than butter.
- Omega 3–rich fish; oily fish such as sardines, mackerel and salmon should be eaten around twice a week.
- Poultry, eggs and dairy; these can be eaten as part of the Mediterranean Diet but should be enjoyed as small portions either daily or a few times a week.
- Red meat; you can still eat red meat on this diet, but only a few times a month.
- Water; the primary beverage to be enjoyed on this diet.
- Wine; oh yes, this diet includes wine! And better still, it’s a daily dose with two glasses a day for men and one glass a day for women.
In addition, the plan encourages daily physical activity.
This list is thankfully a short one, especially in comparison with the foods you can enjoy on this diet. Generally, the Mediterranean Diet is not a prohibitive diet but the categories it suggests avoiding fall under that common-sense bracket. Sugar, processed meat, refined grains and oil, and other highly processed foods are on the reject list.
The all-important benefits
You may be feeling a little suspicious at this point; a diet where you can have olive oil, carbohydrates and wine? Sounds too good to be true, surely, but this diet comes with research that has consistently demonstrated its benefits.
Most healthy eating plans involve cutting out fats whereas this diet is rich in natural, healthy fats derived from oily fish, nuts and olive oil. There is also no need to count calories or keep food diaries. Studies have found that this diet can reduce the rate of death by stroke by 30% and it also lowers your risk of Type 2 diabetes.
The good news keeps on coming as studies have also shown that the antioxidants found in the Mediterranean Diet can help prevent dementia and if you stick to the diet, you may be 46% more likely to age healthfully (living to 70 years or more with no major chronic diseases or impairments).
There must be down sides?
No significant health risks have been found in following the Mediterranean Diet. However, as there aren’t restrictions on portion sizes, it is possible to overeat and therefore gain weight.
It is also important to consume a range of foods from the plan. The Harvard School of Public Health explains:
“It is the combination of these foods that appear protective against disease, as the benefit is not as strong when looking at single foods or nutrients included in the Mediterranean diet. Therefore it is important to not simply add olive oil or nuts to one’s current diet but to adopt the plan in its entirety.” (Huffington Post)
Just what the doctor ordered?
As with any major change to your diet, it’s worth consulting your doctor before undertaking a new plan, especially if you have complex dietary needs or a pre-existing health condition.
Rather than being viewed as a ‘fad diet’, the Mediterranean Diet is presented as a lifestyle change and one that should be maintained to maximise its health benefits. With most ‘traditional’ and on-trend diets focusing on the food groups that cannot be eaten, the concept of this diet is refreshing in its encouragement to enjoy a wide range of food, including those substances such as carbs, oil and alcohol, that other diets tend to prohibit.