There are diets and there are diets. And then there is the Mediterranean diet!
Validation has come for the diet once again with a new study showing that the high-fat Mediterranean diet does not cause people to gain weight. The study, conducted by scientists at University of Barcelone, Spain, and published in The Lancet, followed more than 7,000 overweight adults aged between 55 and 80 years, backs earlier research that the high-fat Mediterranean diet may help people control their weight and waist size. The study was conducted by Predimed and monitored the men for five years.
For the study, the group was divided into three groups: the first could have an unrestricted-calorie Mediterranean diet with added extra virgin olive oil; the second could enjoy an unrestricted-calorie Mediterranean diet with additional nuts, and the third embraced a low-fat diet. No groups showed major weight loss but the people who consumed extra olive oil lost almost two pounds on average. The group that ate more nuts showed the smallest increase in waist circumference, which comes with increasing age.
The research scientists have said: “The fat content of foods and diets is simply not a useful metric to judge long-term harms or benefits. Energy density and total caloric contents can be similarly misleading. Rather, modern scientific evidence supports an emphasis on eating more calories from fruits, nuts, vegetables, beans, fish, yoghurt, phenolic-rich vegetable oils, and minimally processed whole grains; and fewer calories from highly processed foods rich in starch, sugar, salt, or trans-fat.”
This isn’t the first study to show that the Mediterranean diet is the best for people keen to lose weight. That doesn’t mean gorging on high-fat foods. Try these tips and you’ll see how you can gain – by losing weight – from the Mediterranean diet!
- Make olive oil the primary source of fat. When it comes to cooking, try canola oil.
- Your three main meals can include three servings per day of whole grained pasta, bread or cereals.
- Beans are an important component of the Mediterranean diet. Have them thrice a week at least.
- Forget red meat and chicken; go for at least two servings of fish every week.
- Ensure that you have fresh fruits and vegetables with every meal.
- Crack open a bottle of bubbly in the evening but limit consumption to a glass of red wine a day.
- Use varied herbs and spices to add taste and flavour to your food instead of ODing on fat and salt.
- If you need to snack, opt for nuts. Also, add them to your food: sprinkle almonds into oatmeal, toss walnuts over salads or have peanut butter with a fruit!
- Ban all dairy products. Butter, milk, cheese, curd and yes, even ice cream!
Combine your diet with a regular dose of exercise, be it walking, swimming, spinning, cycling or aqua aerobics, and lose that extra weight!