3

votes

why is the mediterranean diet so effective? their diet is based around whole grains for the most part

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 21, 2012 at 3:00 AM

http://www.safe-and-easy-weightloss.com/images/MediterraneanFoodPyramidGraphic.jpg

theres a link to their food pyramid. i just dont get how they are so healthy, especially with meats at the top. for paleo is basically backwards of this. except for sweets obviously aswell as the veggies and fruits. still, all those grains and shiiit. somebody explain?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 23, 2012
at 05:13 PM

Ok...so what part of PERSONAL EXPERIENCE are you having trouble with? I at no point made a statement about what others should or should not do, indeed I said the opposite. Also, having been to southern europe I can tell you they don't eat much pasta, they don't drink skim milk and they pretty much drown their food in olive oil. So please...shut up.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on September 22, 2012
at 10:09 PM

I think the key is more that traditional diets and lifestyles (read: home-cooked, carefully-prepared food + lower stress + higher activity/sunshine/etc.) are good for you. Don't eat crap. Beyond that? Well, if you're sick you might have to follow a restrictive diet (e.g., with diabetes). Otherwise? Don't eat stuff that's junk (like highly-processed sugar or seed oils) or that makes you sick. Beyond that there's a lot of wiggle room.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on September 22, 2012
at 10:07 PM

I wasn't aware that margarine and low-fat dairy were major staples of the Mediterranean diet. Or that everyone has heart disease and diabetes. That's not to say that paleo isn't extremely therapeutic for certain populations, but I don't think that those studies tell the whole story.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on September 22, 2012
at 09:41 PM

Most people probably don't until they've totally destroyed their digestive systems with decades of poor eating.

Fc6a9e07f6056d465573c8969d3a2ddd

(370)

on September 22, 2012
at 07:08 PM

+1 for "not everyone has trouble with grains and beans." And for JERF.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on September 22, 2012
at 02:27 PM

Agreed, thhq. I lost the same amount of weight in 6 months living on beer, fries with mayo, and donner kebab in Belgium.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 22, 2012
at 01:53 PM

If you've got T2 diabetes, no question that you will benefit from carb restriction. If you don't, it doesn't make much if any difference. The Med diet won't fix a bad lifestyle. It doesn't turn an American desk worker into a Corsican goatherd.

Cfdbf3485f0bac5895f86d74afd9fac0

(98)

on September 22, 2012
at 07:19 AM

"I was almost 400+lbs on a vegitarian diet with lots of whole grains, veggies, fruit and almost 0 fat" Wasn't the 'lot's of' the problem? And what about sugarly drinks? Seriously, go to southern europe and try to find people who are 450lbs.

D7f404b29047b12e2c2f528934b7b80b

(133)

on September 22, 2012
at 06:13 AM

Right. And ppl forget that just losing weight does not = healthy!!! You can be super thin but have high BP like my MIL. And my vegetarian aunt who got her bloodwork done and found out she was not absorbing enough protein dispite eating all the "right and healthy" vegetarian foods. Then there is me the primal eater but no one pegs me as "healthy" because i eat meat and that is bad bad bad!! And i eat fat! Soo bad and i must be sick and unhealthy!! But i get my bloodwork and its perfect, my BP is normal/low range. Point is ppls view of what health is obviously differs!!!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 22, 2012
at 05:12 AM

+1 definitely a factor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 21, 2012
at 08:10 PM

I don't recall ever saying that everyone had to eat a certain way. I merely pointed out that people talk about Vegitarians as being waif thin but health etc...(or not) but for me I was almost 400+lbs on a vegitarian diet with lots of whole grains, veggies, fruit and almost 0 fat. So speaking for myself I don't see those diets as "healthy".

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 21, 2012
at 03:51 PM

I ate all that in France and got healthier. What I did determined what I became despite what I put in my mouth. Back in the US I gained all the lost weight back and more eating the same stuff.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 21, 2012
at 03:47 PM

In the context of living in France for 1-1/2 years and losing 20 pounds, lifestyle far superseded dietary effects. For a variety of reasons I did not depend on a car for transportation like I do in the US. I ate a Franco-American diet ad libitum while I was there. Bread, pizza, desserts, and pasta (especially couscous); but also a lot of seafood and poultry. Meat was expensive.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 21, 2012
at 02:35 PM

I don't. When I look around the lunch room at work, the majority of the "skinny" guys are not eating very healthy (Pasta, Pizza, Soda, Burgers), and these are not guys who are in the gym every day. But they are skinny because that's how they are made. Are they healthy? no.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on September 21, 2012
at 02:19 PM

They got that pyramid wrong and basically morphed their own ideas over the real Mediterranean diet. http://www.philmaffetone.com/mediterrdiet.cfm

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on September 21, 2012
at 01:48 PM

+1 for JERF! ...

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on September 21, 2012
at 01:47 PM

Bingo. The Mediterranean diet as sold as a diet is more along the lines of the Olive Garden diet.

Cfdbf3485f0bac5895f86d74afd9fac0

(98)

on September 21, 2012
at 01:28 PM

I think that it is very rare for people not to gain weight no matter what they eat. Except marathon runners of course.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on September 21, 2012
at 12:46 PM

There's not a lot of junk food in the diet, that's why. Getting processed junk foods is more important and relative to general health than avoiding whole foods like grains, legumes, and even dairy.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 21, 2012
at 12:34 PM

@wendy -- what is your point? loads of people are not overweight on the taco bell and beer diet too. Some people just don't put on weight no matter what they eat. That doesn't mean that it's healthy for them or optimal for them.

Cfdbf3485f0bac5895f86d74afd9fac0

(98)

on September 21, 2012
at 10:05 AM

loads of people are not overweight at all on vegetarian and Mediterranean style diet.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 21, 2012
at 06:19 AM

Brilliant article...and totally common sense.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 21, 2012
at 04:25 AM

Why do you think people who eat lots of grains are healthy? Do you have some study on people consuming lots of grains being healthy?

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12 Answers

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18
7dc267a9ffaca87bbef3eb6c37240a37

(256)

on September 21, 2012
at 06:25 AM

the just got it really wrong with the so called med. diet! i used to live in tuscany (italy) and spend a lots of holidays in spain, france... (iam swiss) and they do not eat that much grains at all. in italy for example they eat pasta, but it is only a starter, a small plate, far from what we are used to get in italien restaurants. but they also have a primo what is mostly cured meats, fish or liverpate, followed by a main course of meat and vegetables. in italien supermarkets for example you hardly find canned food or microwave menus...

in france they eat a lots of animal fats (beef, duck, goose) and full fat dairy, in spain a lots of fish, meats and olive oil.

i would say a real med. diet is very near to paleo except for eating some grains. but there diet is full of fresh meat & fish and animal fats, lots of fresh vegetables (organic), full fat dairy and some starch: potatoes, pulses and grains. with a very difference in preparation (soaking and slow cooking for example!)

iam looking forward to my next holiday in italy, think 600 gr. bistecca fiorentina:

http://www.chow.com/assets/2009/08/10851_bistecca_fiorentina_600.jpg

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on September 21, 2012
at 01:47 PM

Bingo. The Mediterranean diet as sold as a diet is more along the lines of the Olive Garden diet.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 21, 2012
at 03:47 PM

In the context of living in France for 1-1/2 years and losing 20 pounds, lifestyle far superseded dietary effects. For a variety of reasons I did not depend on a car for transportation like I do in the US. I ate a Franco-American diet ad libitum while I was there. Bread, pizza, desserts, and pasta (especially couscous); but also a lot of seafood and poultry. Meat was expensive.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on September 22, 2012
at 02:27 PM

Agreed, thhq. I lost the same amount of weight in 6 months living on beer, fries with mayo, and donner kebab in Belgium.

11
35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on September 21, 2012
at 03:12 AM

Welcome to PaleoHacks!

Their diet is based on eating real food. Plenty of diets based on real food work for lots of people, especially if it gets them off SAD (Standard American Diet), gets them to eat more wholesome food, and less food than they're used to eating because they're more satisfied with food that doesn't screw with their cravings. And, not everyone has trouble with grains and beans. And, not all paleo folks eat lots of meat.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on September 21, 2012
at 01:48 PM

+1 for JERF! ...

Fc6a9e07f6056d465573c8969d3a2ddd

(370)

on September 22, 2012
at 07:08 PM

+1 for "not everyone has trouble with grains and beans." And for JERF.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on September 22, 2012
at 09:41 PM

Most people probably don't until they've totally destroyed their digestive systems with decades of poor eating.

7
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 21, 2012
at 03:26 AM

As someone who was 450lbs both on a vegetarian and Mediterranean style diet I, personally, didn't find either health. At 260lbs on Paleo, and losing, I know I won't go back.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 21, 2012
at 12:34 PM

@wendy -- what is your point? loads of people are not overweight on the taco bell and beer diet too. Some people just don't put on weight no matter what they eat. That doesn't mean that it's healthy for them or optimal for them.

Cfdbf3485f0bac5895f86d74afd9fac0

(98)

on September 21, 2012
at 01:28 PM

I think that it is very rare for people not to gain weight no matter what they eat. Except marathon runners of course.

Cfdbf3485f0bac5895f86d74afd9fac0

(98)

on September 21, 2012
at 10:05 AM

loads of people are not overweight at all on vegetarian and Mediterranean style diet.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 21, 2012
at 02:35 PM

I don't. When I look around the lunch room at work, the majority of the "skinny" guys are not eating very healthy (Pasta, Pizza, Soda, Burgers), and these are not guys who are in the gym every day. But they are skinny because that's how they are made. Are they healthy? no.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 21, 2012
at 03:51 PM

I ate all that in France and got healthier. What I did determined what I became despite what I put in my mouth. Back in the US I gained all the lost weight back and more eating the same stuff.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 21, 2012
at 08:10 PM

I don't recall ever saying that everyone had to eat a certain way. I merely pointed out that people talk about Vegitarians as being waif thin but health etc...(or not) but for me I was almost 400+lbs on a vegitarian diet with lots of whole grains, veggies, fruit and almost 0 fat. So speaking for myself I don't see those diets as "healthy".

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 23, 2012
at 05:13 PM

Ok...so what part of PERSONAL EXPERIENCE are you having trouble with? I at no point made a statement about what others should or should not do, indeed I said the opposite. Also, having been to southern europe I can tell you they don't eat much pasta, they don't drink skim milk and they pretty much drown their food in olive oil. So please...shut up.

Cfdbf3485f0bac5895f86d74afd9fac0

(98)

on September 22, 2012
at 07:19 AM

"I was almost 400+lbs on a vegitarian diet with lots of whole grains, veggies, fruit and almost 0 fat" Wasn't the 'lot's of' the problem? And what about sugarly drinks? Seriously, go to southern europe and try to find people who are 450lbs.

6
Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 21, 2012
at 03:23 AM

Many diets are healthy. The healthiness of a high meat paleo diet does not mean that a high carb Med diet is unhealthy. It is not all that complicated to create a paleo Med diet using squash and root vegetables.

5
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on September 22, 2012
at 05:54 AM

Anyone who eats octopus, fish, lamb, organ meats, and veggies dressed in olive oil, with a bit of wine, along with a good dose of sunshine, space between meals, low stress living, and lots of walking is on the real Mediterranean diet, and likely as healthy as they can expect to be. I'd recommend it in a heartbeat. Like the whole paleo thing, lifestyle matters as much as food shoveled in the mouth.

The American version of it is pretty silly, and not particularly healthy or even Mediterranean at all. Its most redeeming feature is that it gets people away from eating pure crap, and encourages home cooking, and they will likely have some improvement going from fast food to that. The shift from canola and Crisco to olive oil couldn't hurt either, since the impact of hyper-processed and hydrogenated seed oils is probably our most detrimental Neolithic Agent of Disease.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on September 22, 2012
at 10:09 PM

I think the key is more that traditional diets and lifestyles (read: home-cooked, carefully-prepared food + lower stress + higher activity/sunshine/etc.) are good for you. Don't eat crap. Beyond that? Well, if you're sick you might have to follow a restrictive diet (e.g., with diabetes). Otherwise? Don't eat stuff that's junk (like highly-processed sugar or seed oils) or that makes you sick. Beyond that there's a lot of wiggle room.

5
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 21, 2012
at 12:32 PM

Why do you think it is effective?

This study : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=17583796&dopt=AbstractPlus

Looked at Mediterranean diet as a control group vs a group with a Paleo diet. It looked at a group of 29 patient with heart disease and either glucose intolerance or T2 diabetes. The group that ate Paleo had:

  • More fat loss in the midsection, and greater total weight loss
  • Voluntarily ate fewer calories! (this is a big deal that often gets overlooked. No one was asked to reduce their caloric intake, the Paleo group did it on their own!)
  • Improvement in glucose tolerance AND decreased fasting glucose
  • In fact, every member of the paleo diet ended the 12 week study with normal fasting glucose. only half of the Mediterranean group did.

So which is more effective?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 22, 2012
at 01:53 PM

If you've got T2 diabetes, no question that you will benefit from carb restriction. If you don't, it doesn't make much if any difference. The Med diet won't fix a bad lifestyle. It doesn't turn an American desk worker into a Corsican goatherd.

D7f404b29047b12e2c2f528934b7b80b

(133)

on September 22, 2012
at 06:13 AM

Right. And ppl forget that just losing weight does not = healthy!!! You can be super thin but have high BP like my MIL. And my vegetarian aunt who got her bloodwork done and found out she was not absorbing enough protein dispite eating all the "right and healthy" vegetarian foods. Then there is me the primal eater but no one pegs me as "healthy" because i eat meat and that is bad bad bad!! And i eat fat! Soo bad and i must be sick and unhealthy!! But i get my bloodwork and its perfect, my BP is normal/low range. Point is ppls view of what health is obviously differs!!!

3
0d7be15fd1a76c7a713b0e2e75381e75

(307)

on September 21, 2012
at 05:27 AM

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 21, 2012
at 06:19 AM

Brilliant article...and totally common sense.

3
64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on September 21, 2012
at 03:56 AM

They also fasted or had restricted food intake a lot of days

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15333159

also, it doesn't reduce inflammation

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16306923

Paleo diet usually kicks its butt too

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21118562

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17583796

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on September 22, 2012
at 10:07 PM

I wasn't aware that margarine and low-fat dairy were major staples of the Mediterranean diet. Or that everyone has heart disease and diabetes. That's not to say that paleo isn't extremely therapeutic for certain populations, but I don't think that those studies tell the whole story.

2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 22, 2012
at 05:21 AM

As taboo as this may sound, almost any diet can be effective provided there is a balance struck in caloric intake versus expenditure.

The best dietary regimes, however, are the ones where one does not have to think too much about caloric intake and lets a healthy appetite dictate eating by ensuring hypothalamic appetite control is not dysregulated (by consumption of processed food). Paleo and Mediterranean are in this category. Rather than targeting the presence of grains, consider the effect of the diet as a whole on hypothalamic appetite control.

0
B30a349624b0a6d0cb971793cbc2e6c6

on October 18, 2012
at 12:23 PM

Very nice post. I have really enjoyed reading this great information about Mediterranean diet plan.

0
E95216c62a14d21c371fcbf2fed8469b

(1867)

on September 21, 2012
at 12:51 PM

Maybe they eat better than what Olive Garden shows on television! I'll bet they can get a week's worth of meals from what some people eat in a day.

0
47edf681280750c3712a3a56f2eae33b

on September 21, 2012
at 05:11 AM

Difference in the type of grain we eat here?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 22, 2012
at 05:12 AM

+1 definitely a factor

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