Basics of the Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean Diet Greek temple

The Mediterranean Diet is not a typical diet. Rather than resulting from the latest scientific or nutritional theories, it is simply a healthy diet people living in the Mediterranean have eaten for years. Of course, the Mediterranean embodies a region of various countries, and some have succumbed to a modern diet made popular by restaurant and fast-food chains. Nevertheless, we can learn a lot by studying the dietary habits of individuals who eat traditional Mediterranean fare.

Many who want to embark on a Mediterranean diet plan have found the Mediterranean Diet, by Marissa Cloutier and Eve Adamson, helpful.

Not A New Concept in Eating


The concept of the Mediterranean Diet has been around for quite a while, ever since a doctor named Ancel Keys noted the low disease rate of the Mediterranean people during his tour with the US Army in the 1940s. However, the basic premise behind the diet is based upon Ancel Keys longitudinal study, the Seven Countries Study, begun in 1956. What the study found is people who adhered to the traditional diet of fish, red wine, grains, vegetables and olive oil and exercised lived longer than those who ate less healthy diets and did not exercise. Exercise is considered to be an essential part of this diet.

Since the original study, many more studies have been done, and they continue to support the premise that replacing butter with olive oil, adding a moderate amount of red wine to one's diet and other healthful changes will increase longevity and decrease weight. This type of food preference, being based on centuries of dietary patterns, does not have artificially created fats such as trans-fatty acids in it. The foods are very minimally processed. By eating a diet rich in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, while avoiding the over-consumption of meat and animal products containing artery-clogging saturated fats and processed foods containing trans-fatty acids, one can increase overall health and well-being.


One of the reasons the diet may prove to be one of the best out there is its focus on moderation. The amount of fat and carbohydrates consumed is moderate compared to many of the commercial diets, and this balance is likely to make dieters feel less deprived as they work towards their health and weight loss goals. It is also easy to integrate the Mediterranean Diet into your lifestyle.

Mediterranean Diet Lifestyle Changes


When you imagine the island of Crete, what do you see in your mind's eye: a fisherman bringing in his catch for the day, or a guy sprawled in front of a television set eating Twinkies? Lifestyle cannot be discounted. This is another way in which the Mediterranean Diet is different from the others. Exercise is an essential component. Chances are many people living in the Mediterranean have natural opportunities for physical activity, such as the aforementioned fishing, as well as walking, cycling and other activities about town and at home. In order to fully implement the Mediterranean Diet, we must give up our old sedentary habits and integrate physical activity into our lives.

Eliminate Sources of Stress

It should not be discounted that life in the Mediterranean is generally conducted at a slower pace than life in the United States. Perhaps another factor is not only diet and exercise, but also stress reduction techniques. After all, many people in the Mediterranean are eating their healthful meals during a long relaxing midday break, as opposed to gobbling down a frozen meal during a quick lunch hour while simultaneously trying to make it to the gym. Reducing stress can lead to heart health and can certainly cut down on the amount of stress-induced eating we do.

This is one plan where you have nothing to lose but pounds and any lethargy you may be feeling. Go to the store and buy some olive oil and red wine, and get prepared to live the good life while you improve your diet.

Basics of the Mediterranean Diet