Mediterranean Style Diet12/5/2012
Learn to Read Labels – It Can Save Your Life
Is This A Diet Plan?
- This is an enjoyable pattern of eating similar to the way that many people living around the Mediterranean Sea tend to eat – and a big reason why they enjoy, in general, a lower cardiovascular risk profile.
- Unlike popular “diet plans,” this is based upon the best science available to us. And it is SUSTAINABLE.
What Is It?
- Low intake of saturated fat.
What does this mean, specifically?
- Infrequent red meat (1-2 times per month); limit dairy fat.
- No amount of trans-fat is good for you. Trans-fats are oils that are processed to given them certain features, such as extending shelf-life or changing the melting point. They come from a process called “hydrogenation,” – they are not natural to our bodies and cause harm in a variety of ways, like raising the “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lowering the “good” cholesterol (HDL). Avoid margarines or hydrogenated oils.
- A good rule of thumb: divide your weight (in pounds) by 12, and that is the limit in grams of your daily saturated fat intake (e.g. a 180 lb man has a limit of 15 grams/day of saturated fat).
Eat more of the good things.
What does this mean, specifically?
- Focus on good fats (omega-3 fatty acids); it’s not that they aren’t bad for you, they are GOOD for you. High amounts in nuts (other than peanuts), fish, flaxseed, olive and canola oils. Monounsaturated fats.
- Fruits (not fruit juices, which have mostly sugar)
- Vegetables (6-9 servings a day)
- Whole grain products (instead of bleached white flour): includes breads, rice, pasta.
- Soy protein
12 Ways to Eat Like a Mediterranean:
- Replace butter with olive or canola oil whenever possible
- Snack on nuts, seeds or fruit instead of processed foods
- Include a generous leafy green salad with most dinners
- Help yourself to whole-grain bread, pasta, rice and other whole grains
- Fix at least a couple of vegetarian meals every week
- Add a dish that contains legumes (beans and lentils) to your weekly menu
- Have fish (not breaded or fried) twice a week
- If you eat meat, favor poultry (not fried)
- Limit red meat to 1-2 times per month
- If you drink, have no more than 1-2 glasses a night with meals
- Have fruit for dessert
- Set aside enough time to savor each bite.
Why Should I Eat This Way?
“There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction” – John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)
- 90% of coronary heart disease is life-style related
- For those who have had a heart attack, you cut your risk of having another heart attack or dying within 2 years by 50%. (Lyon Diet Heart Study: Benefits of a Mediterranean-style National Cholesterol Education Program/ American Heart Association Step I Dietary Pattern on Cardiovascular Disease. Kris-Etherton, P. et al. Circulation, 2001; 103: 1823-1825.
- You will lose weight in a healthy way
- Recent, well-designed, randomized controlled trial data show a 30% lower risk of developing your first heart attack or stroke by following a Mediterranean diet. Estruch, R, et al. Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease with a mediterranean diet. N Eng J Med; February 25, 2013DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1200303
Where Can I Get More Information?
- Search for “Mediterranean style diet” in any web browser
- A great book with lots of easy to understand information regarding not only dietary suggestions with recipes, but about preventive cardiology, in general, written by an internationally respected preventive cardiologist: Eating Well for a Healthy Heart, by Dr. Phil Ades, 2008.