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The Mediterranean Diet Explained: Pros AND Cons Exposed!

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The Mediterranean Diet is known as the healthiest diet in the world. But is it really? In this article I explain exactly what the Mediterranean Diet is, and I discuss the pros AND cons…  

The Mediterranean diet is an eating plan modeled after the traditional eating patterns of the countries bordering the Med sea, including France, Italy, Greece and Spain. Of course the Mediterranean diet varies from country to country, but in general it’s a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish, and healthy fats such as nuts and olive oil. It encourages daily exercise and a glass of red wine in the evening. Processed foods and refined carbs are off limits, and red meat and dairy products are allowed in moderation.

The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet was discovered in the 1950s by American scientist Ancel Keys of the University of Minnesota, who was the first to point out a correlation between cardiovascular disease and food intake. He noticed the poor citizens of small towns in southern Italy were much healthier than the wealthy citizens of New York. Ancel Keys led the famous “7 Countries Study” in order to document the relationship between lifestyle, nutrition and cardiovascular disease in different populations. Data emerged that clearly demonstrated populations who adopted the Mediterranean diet had an extremely low rate of coronary heart disease and other chronic diseases.

Each year US News & World Report ranks the world’s best diets, and the Mediterranean diet consistently ranks #1 in the world for: best overall diet and best plant based diet, and easiest diet to follow. And it tied for #1 for best heart healthy diet, best diabetes diet and best diet for healthy eating. This sounds too good to be true. Are there any cons? Believe it or not, yes there are a few cons. Let’s take a closer look and I’ll give you my top 3 pros AND cons of the Mediterraneand diet: 

  1. This diet is super HEALTHY! I’ve already touched on some of the health benefits, it’s good for heart health and diabetes, it lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, it lowers blood pressure, I could go on and on.
  2. The Mediterranean diet is sustainable. This diet allows plenty of variety and experimentation. Fiber and healthy fats are very filling so hunger isn’t a big problem. Mediterranean Dieters describe it as an “enjoyable eating plan that is easy to follow.”
  3. This eating plan is flexible. This diet doesn’t ban entire food groups. It’s flexible and flavorful. There are hundreds of recipes available, maybe 1000s. This wide variety makes it easy to follow in social situations and while eating out in restaurants.

Okay now for the cons (crickets) Actually there ARE a few cons to the Med diet…

  1. It can be time consuming. Shopping for Mediterranean diet foods and preparing meals is going to take more time than microwaving processed foods or grabbing fast food. This will take some adjustment. BUT this is true of any diet that discourages processed foods and encourages fresh healthy foods. The good news is there are tips and tricks to get more done in less time.
  2. The restrictions may feel challenging at times. Really the only foods that are off limits are processed foods and sugar and refined carbs. Red meat and dairy products are limited but not eliminated completely. So these restrictions may feel challenging at times if you’re giving up processed foods and sugar for the first time, but not impossible to overcome.
  3. The Med diet may be too low in protein for some people. If your goal is to build muscle, then eating fish a few times a week is not going to be enough. To maximize muscle building you need to eat plenty of protein spread throughout each day. So if building muscle is a goal then this diet in its purest form is not for you.

Okay time for my favorite question: What does the Bible say about it? Answer: nothing directly. But Jesus turned water to wine, and multiplied loaves of whole grain bread and fishes to feed the multitudes. And it passes my test of being balanced. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is temperance or self control. Temperance means avoiding extremes. Eating plans that ban entire food groups are extreme, in my opinion. But the Mediterranean diet is fairly balanced, nutritionally speaking, and can be adjusted to meet your specific health and fitness goals.

So overall, I give the Mediterranean diet an A. It’s almost the exact diet I follow, except I adjust it for muscle building by adding more protein. The Mediterranean diet is not designed to be a weight loss diet OR a muscle building diet. That’s where diet tracking comes in. The Mediterranean diet, or any eating plan, can be adjusted for your specific goals. No matter what diet you follow, To lose fat you have to be in a calorie deficit, and if you’re not overweight, to gain muscle you need to be in a slight calorie surplus. If you’re saying “Yeah I know all that but HOW do I do it?” then I have 3 free tools to help you: My calorie-calculator-combo comes with an online calorie calculator that tells you how many calories you need to eat each day to either lose fat, or build muscle, depending on your goals. It also comes with the top 5 calorie counting apps, so you can start tracking your food intake and make sure you’re eating right for your goals. And it comes with my Glycemic Index Food Guide, with nutritional recommendations and meal planning ideas to help you make healthy food choices. So if you’re ready to take your fitness to the next level, you can get all three free resources by visiting the link below.

Okay that’s it for this week’s article. Thanks for joining me. Don’t forget to pick up my calorie calculator combo, the ultimate free tools to help you succeed on your fitness journey, just visit the link below. That’s all for now, God bless you, and I’ll see you next time.

Free Calorie Calculator Combo: https://www.spiritandmuscle.com/calories


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