Is The Mediterranean Diet Right for You?
It’s enough to drive you crazy. One diet after another and you are supposed to “pick one.” I didn’t realize how confusing that might be for the average person. Well, here is the good news. They really aren’t all that different.
The Mediterranean diet has much in common with Paleo and Keto. All three diets veto commercially processed food including anything made from refined flour. All three disallow refined commercial oils such as soybean, corn, and canola. And all three prohibit sugar sweetened beverages and added sugar.
But the differences, however minimal, are very important. Potatoes, grain (whole, not refined), and legumes are allowed and actually encouraged in the Mediterranean diet. There is bountiful nutrition in those three foods. However, all three contain the most calories and carbohydrates of any other vegetable and demand the most insulin.
So if your interest is in losing weight, the more of these three you include in your meals, the less likely you are to lose weight.
Beyond the carbohydrate content, there are also toxins in the three that plants have developed to protect themselves. In potatoes that would be solanine which is found in all “nightshade” vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers.
The number of people who react to solanine appears to be small but it is still real. Read a bit more about Amelia in my post from late last year, Tomatoes are Healthy – Usually.
The more common toxins are lectins (most often gluten) found in grain and legumes (beans). An individual with autoimmune disease(s) and digestive issues is likely to encounter trouble with grains (particularly) and legumes. So if this is you, these foods are not for you.
The AARDA (American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association) reports that 50 million Americans have at least one autoimmune disease and all have a need to manage their diet. That is unfortunate. What I am seeing right now is that grain and dairy are the top two foods creating autoimmune response.
Read more about autoimmune disease in this post, Autoimmune – What is It?
I hope you will make your dietary decisions based on your goal.
If you are interested in ridding yourself of a significant amount of body fat, and perhaps have a tendency to overeat, then the simple Keto diet is the most likely to carry you to your goal. The eating structure minimizes the insulin requirement, positioning you to accomplish steady weight loss.
If you have any autoimmune diseases, food allergies, and general ongoing symptoms, either Keto or Paleo can do it for you. Paleo is best if you have problems with dairy.
If you are diabetic or diabetes runs in your family, the potatoes, grain, and legumes in the Mediterranean diet may not be to your advantage. They certainly aren’t for me.
If you goal is simply a nutritious, whole foods diet then the Mediterranean diet fills the bill. Exercising moderation with potatoes, grains, and legumes, you could comfortably eat a Mediterranean diet for the rest of your life.
Pat Smith is the author of “It’s All about the Food,” a book that guides nutritious food choices as the way to avoid illness and maintain a healthy weight. All proceeds from the book benefit the Montgomery County Food Pantry. Pat is a resident of Montgomery County, AR, president of Ouachita Village, Inc. board of directors (Montgomery County Food Pantry); chairman of the Tasty Acre project; and member of the Mount Ida Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors. Her Facebook page is www.facebook.com/patsmithbooks. Her website is http://allaboutthefood.org/