Mediterranean Diet and Weight Loss!
For decades there has been growing support for the so-called Mediterranean Diet, consisting of foods eaten typically by people living in lands in and about the sea by the same name. One recent study of 1,000 subjects released last month indicates that this diet offers protection against coronary events, and may lower cancer risks as well. Even patients that had heart disease were 31% less likely to suffer chest pain or a second coronary within 30 days of hospital discharge, if they were closely following the Mediterranean Diet.
Key components of the Mediterranean Diet include: a) getting plenty of exercise and eating your meals with family and friends, b) eating generous helpings of seasonally fresh fruits and vegetables, c) consuming healthy fats such as olive and canola oil, d) using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods, e) eating small portions of nuts, f) drinking red wine, in moderation, for some, g) consuming very little red meat, h) eating fish or shellfish at least twice a week, and g) eating only minimal amounts of processed foods including sugary sweets (fresh fruit used instead as a typical daily desert).
The Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust of Cambridge, Massachusetts, a nonprofit, in conjunction with Harvard scientists, developed a “Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid” to visually depict the diet.
The most recent 2005 update of the USDA Food Pyramid is beginning to look more like the Mediterranean Diet, emphasizing more fruits and vegetables, fewer exchanges of meat, and lean cuts of meat and fish when they are consumed.
Here’s the best news of all. If you’re trying to lose weight safely, the Mediterranean Diet is a no brainer. Unlike some diets that tell you to limit your fat consumption, the Mediterranean Diet instead emphasizes eating more vegetables and less meat, healthy fats from olive oil, nuts, avocados, as well as polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids found in for example salmon, tuna, sardines, and trout. These have been shown to reduce the incidence of heart attacks, blood clots, hypertension, strokes, and may help prevent certain forms of cancer and lower the risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.
At our office you will find some supplements to help you get started with this diet. But it is important to understand that just like watered down gas affects performance of a car, putting second rate “fuel” into our human body can be a disaster as well. Taking even whole food supplements with a lousy diet is like filling your car with “watery” gas, then adding a fuel booster and expecting good performance. Finally, if you’re not into all this “science” stuff but like movies, you should see how just one month of eating nothing but fast food and limiting exercise caused severe deterioration in the health of a previously fit young man. Rent the video, “Super Size Me.” It is an entertaining, if scary, documentary that I highly recommend. It has definitely encouraged me to limit my consumption of “fast foods,” and get serious about changing how I eat. It may help you as well.
Dr. Rob Leach
A large study last month revealed fewer heart valve problems and heart attacks during two years of follow up: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20484450
Patients at high risk for coronary events had positive short term affects on using the Mediterranean Diet: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20515519
For a Mediterranean Diet research summary from the Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mediterranean-diet/cl00011
For a description of the heart healthy benefits of the Mediterranean Diet found on the American Heart Association website: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4644
For information from Oldways on the Mediterranean Diet: http://www.oldwayspt.org/mediterranean-diet-pyramid
For information about weight loss using the Mediterranean Diet from WebMD:
For information about the documentary movie, Super Size Me (2004): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0390521/