Blog Diets Mediterranean Diet for Weight Loss

Mediterranean Diet for Weight Loss

What is the Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet, which is also known as the Med diet, is one of the most well-known diets throughout the world. It originated in cities surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and reflects food patterns that are typical to those of Greece and Southern Italy in the 1960s (11). The Mediterranean diet for weight loss consists of a wide variety of foods that may vary from culture to culture. 

The easy Mediterranean diet program centers around the use of extra virgin olive oil as the primary source of fat. Olive oil contains beneficial fatty acids and is a common ingredient in Mediterranean recipes (1). Studies have shown that extra virgin olive oil can help reduce inflammation, improve liver health, and provide antioxidants for overall wellness (9). Consuming healthy fats is essential for maintaining good health.

What Exactly Do You Eat on a Mediterranean Diet?

Traditionally, the Mediterranean diet food list consists of a high intake of plant foods such as:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole-grain bread
  • Minimally refined cereals
  • Potatoes
  • Beans
  • nuts
  • Needs
  • Extra virgin olive oil

It also includes low-fat dairy products, eggs, fish, red wine, and poultry. Red meat and processed food consumption is kept to a minimum. 

When you’re following the Mediterranean diet, you should expect to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, a variety of seafood, chicken, and healthy fats. Although there are no specific rules to follow, we recommend incorporating these general guidelines into your daily routine. The Mediterranean diet recipes offer tips on flavoring foods with spices instead of salt and rely less on animal products and meat than other diets. 

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The 7 Day Bland Diet Menu To Soothe Your Gut

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What Are the Top 10 Foods on a Mediterranean Diet?

The top 10 foods on a Mediterranean diet for weight loss food list are:

  1. Olive oil
  2. Fruits
  3. Vegetables
  4. Nuts
  5. Beans
  6. Fish
  7. Whole-grain bread
  8. Low-fat cheese or yogurt
  9. Chicken
  10. Red wine

Is the Mediterranean Diet Good for Weight Loss?

Studies have consistently shown that following the Mediterranean diet is a practical and easy way to lose weight. The diet includes widely available foods and can be prepared in many different ways to cater to your taste preferences. However, the benefits of the Mediterranean diet are far more than just weight loss. Research strongly suggests that it also leads to significant improvements in a person’s (3): 

The Mediterranean diet promotes a higher intake of dietary fiber, which helps you feel full for longer periods of time. In addition, the diet includes many common foods with low energy density and glycemic load, which can help control your appetite. The high water content in the foods included in the Mediterranean diet also makes it a highly nutritious and effective diet for weight loss (4).

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The Mediterranean diet is a great option for those who are looking for an evidence-based diet for weight loss that can help keep the weight off in the long term. A recent review found that it had the strongest evidence of weight loss. Its focus on vegetables, healthy fats, and natural sugars makes it an excellent choice for weight management (10). 

To start your day on the right foot, we recommend making your highest-calorie meal a Mediterranean diet for weight loss breakfast high in protein and fiber. This meal timing will give you the energy boost you need to stay on track with your weight loss goals.

Mediterranean diet for weight loss  

What Are the Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet is not just helpful for weight loss, it also offers numerous health benefits that improve overall physical and mental wellness. The diet includes foods that are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients that the body responds to positively. By following the Mediterranean diet, you can better manage or prevent certain chronic diseases.

A recent review found that these foods in the diet help prevent DNA damage and slow down cancer cell formation, thereby reducing the risk of cancer (2). Adhering to this diet may also lower your risk of (11):

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Cognitive decline
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Stroke
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Your mental health is as vital as your physical health. Fortunately, the Mediterranean diet may significantly improve symptoms of depression. This is because the diet requires a higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids, which helps balance brain chemicals and enhance mood (8). 

Read more: 7-Day Weight Loss Low-Carb Diet: Choose High-Protein, High-Fiber, or Ultra-Low-Carb

What Are the Disadvantages of the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet for weight loss is loved by vegetarians, but it may pose challenges for red meat lovers. Many households rely heavily on meats such as steak and ground beef, which are great sources of iron essential to our health. If you choose to follow this diet, you need to ensure you consume other sources of iron, such as beans, dark leafy vegetables, and eggs (7). 

Research has highlighted other disadvantages, including the high quantity of fats and carbohydrates (12). This can make it unhealthy for those with diabetes, allergies, or digestive conditions. For example, tree nuts are a major food allergen, and high-fat foods can trigger flare-ups in individuals who have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (6). 

Cooking meals for a family while following the Mediterranean diet can sometimes be challenging. This diet involves meal planning, which makes it convenient for busy individuals who need to prepare meals for their families. However, the need for more time to cook and prepare meals can be inconvenient for some people and others in the household may not find the food limitations appealing.

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How Long Does It Take to See Results from a Mediterranean Diet?

When starting any diet, individuals can expect different results and timelines. Several factors influence how quickly weight is lost, including (5):

  • Current state of health
  • Level and amount of exercise
  • Chronic conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease
  • Medications
  • Gender
  • Stress levels
  • Sleep quality
  • Genetics
  • Mental health
  • Lifestyle
  • Daily water intake

Before you start a new diet, you should consult your doctor. They can help guide you based on your current health requirements and recommend a suitable exercise level. Certain medications that treat conditions such as depression and high blood pressure can lead to weight gain. In such cases, your doctor may suggest an alternative medication to help support your weight loss journey. 

When it comes to seeing results, the fastest way is typically by:

  • Setting goals
  • Seeking support
  • Exercising regularly
  • Managing stress
  • Getting a good night’s sleep
  • Drinking plenty of water throughout the day
  • Adopting a healthy eating plan
  • Avoiding red meats and alcohol, except occasional red wine 

Mediterranean diet for weight loss  

Why Am I Not Losing Weight on the Mediterranean Diet?

Are you incorporating regular exercise into your routine in addition to following the diet plan? Although reducing caloric intake can be helpful, it’s important to remember that exercise is essential for success. Experts suggest pairing your Mediterranean diet meal plan with moderate-intensity activities, such as brisk walking or dancing, for at least 150 minutes weekly to help with weight loss (11).

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Accountability is another factor that could hinder your weight loss progress. Weighing yourself weekly can help you stay accountable and track your progress. If you notice any unfavorable changes in your weight, consider the amount of exercise you’ve done and the foods you’ve eaten in the days leading up to it. Even small changes can have a significant impact on your weight loss journey. Keeping a food journal can also help you stay on track.

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FAQs

  • What is the number 1 healthiest diet?

It is impossible to declare a single healthy diet plan as the genetics and lifestyles of individuals vary. However, consuming a nutritious and well-balanced diet that is tailored to your specific health needs is the best option. Some people may require a structured diet plan that restricts certain foods and quantities to manage their weight. The easy Mediterranean diet is one such option that can aid with weight loss and help you achieve your goals.

  • What isn’t allowed on the Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet for weight loss prohibits:

  • Refined sugars
  • Refined grains
  • Processed foods
  • Trans fats

It also limits the consumption of:

  • Red meat
  • High-fat dairy
  • Alcohol, except red wine
  • Why am I gaining weight on a Mediterranean diet?

Portion control plays a vital role when trying to shed some weight. It’s common to feel the urge to finish all the food on your plate, but it’s best to avoid doing so. Suppose you’re consuming high-fat foods such as nuts or meat. In this case, sticking to a smaller serving to limit your calorie intake is recommended. The same goes for carbohydrates, which can contain hidden sugars and calories. If you’re still hungry, you can eat more vegetables to fill yourself up.

In addition to watching what you eat, keeping a close eye on your physical activity levels is essential. Diet alone may not necessarily lead to weight loss, particularly if you need to move more. If you’re new to exercise, start small and set achievable goals. Engage in an activity you enjoy, such as hiking, swimming, or yoga, to make it fun and less like work. Other helpful tips to consider include:

  • Establish and maintain a consistent bedtime routine.
  • Prioritize both the quality and quantity of your sleep.
  • Use a water bottle that tracks your daily intake to ensure you meet your hydration goals.
  • Keep a food journal to track your eating habits and identify areas for improvement.
  • Ensure you’re consuming a healthy diet that’s neither too little nor too much.
  • Schedule a physical exam with your doctor to ensure your body is healthy and ready for weight loss.
  • Share your diet with a loved one using the share button below to get the extra support you need to meet your weight loss goals and stay accountable. 

The Bottom Line

The Mediterranean diet is one of the most well-known and popular diets on the market. It includes various foods that offer numerous health benefits to improve overall physical and mental wellness. An evidence-based diet such as the Mediterranean diet can help you lose weight and achieve your goals.

DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES

  1. Benefits of the Mediterranean diet: Epidemiological and molecular aspects (2019, sciencedirect.com)
  2. Cancer and Mediterranean Diet: A Review (2019, mdpi.com)
  3. Effects of Popular Diets on Anthropometric and Cardiometabolic Parameters: An Umbrella Review of Meta-Analyses of Randomized Controlled Trials (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  4. Exploring the relationship between the Mediterranean diet and weight loss maintenance: the MedWeight study (2022, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  5. Factors Affecting Weight & Health (2023, niddk.nih.gov)
  6. High-Fat Foods and FODMAPs Containing Gluten Foods Primarily Contribute to Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Korean Adults (2021, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  7. Iron-Deficiency Anemia (n.d., nhlbi.nih.gov)
  8. Mediterranean Diet and its Benefits on Health and Mental Health: A Literature Review (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  9. Olive Oil: Nutritional Applications, Beneficial Health Aspects and its Prospective Application in Poultry Production (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  10. Optimal Diet Strategies for Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  11. The Mediterranean diet and health: a comprehensive overview (2021, onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
  12. Understanding the Self-Perceived Barriers and Enablers toward Adopting a Mediterranean Diet in Australia: An Application of the Theory of Planned Behaviour Framework (2020, mdpi.com)
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