Is the Mediterranean Diet a Diet?

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The Mediterranean Diet is not a strict diet and those who follow it, I would imagine don’t feel they are on a “diet” per se.  In fact, as some argue (such as Ivo Abraham, Chief Scientist, Matrix45; Professor, University of Arizona Colleges of Nursing and Pharmacy Earlysville, VA ), it is instead a concept.  I can’t help but agree.

He states that the research done regarding the diet is simply not specific enough, considering the diet is based on regions ranging from France to Greece to Spain, which inevitably do not eat the same quantities and specifications.

Therefore, the diet is a concept, not an actual diet.  However, he does not criticize or repute the beneficial aspects of this dietary “concept”.

This leads me to still pursue and study the value of the Mediterranean diet, even if it is more of a concept, rather than a set of quantifiable factors.

The diet can be broken into 7-9 categories which have been used for various studies.  Visit here to see one of the studies.

Categories are:  (1) nuts and legumes,(2) fruits and vegetables, (3) legumes, (4) low intake of red meat, (5)moderate intake of ethanol in the form of wine during meals, (6) cereals (grains), (7) seafood and fish, (8) high ratio of monounsaturated fats to saturated lipids (such as olive oils), and (9) low intake of dairy.

One of the complaints is that in the past studies focused individually on each of the components, rather than as a whole.  Therefore, newer studies have been focused on reviewing the interactions of each component.

However they can agree on these three points:

  1. Veggies and fruit rank for high intake.  This means eat a lot of these daily.
  2. Dairy and red meat rank for low intake.  This means try to avoid – if you can.
  3. Everything else – take in moderation, neither high nor low.

There are many Mediterranean cookbooks which offer recipes following this dietary concept.  In fact, many of these recipes are suitable for vegan or gluten free diets.  They also have books specifically for those with diabetes as well (shown to the right).

However, I couldn’t help but wonder while reading these reports if it would be just as easy to say what to stay away from.

For example, if this diet is based on natural and whole foods, rather than processed foods with additives which cause biological and chemical imbalances within the brain – wouldn’t it be just as easy to say so?  Or would that open the door for attacks from the powerful food industry and FDA which backs many of these companies which support ingredients such as intesterified oil, MSG, and Aspartame?

I’ll leave that for you to decide, but for me – I’ll choose to follow the Mediterranean concept…

Now where did I put that New York Peppermint Patty….

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