Green Mediterranean Diet Has Benefits and Drawbacks

Our team isn’t really fans of diets. They set you up for failure. They are frequently too hard to follow, too restrictive, too expensive, and eventually, you’ll “fall off the wagon.” But the Mediterranean diet isn’t really a diet because it actually refers to eating in the fashion of people who live in the Mediterranean area instead of eating our normal Western diet

Our Western diet has a lot of animal products — meat, dairy and eggs — refined grains, potatoes, corn and sweet drinks and sweets in general. The Mediterranean diet has more fish, legumes, fruit and vegetables, olive oil and unrefined grains. Unlike most diets, eating a Mediterranean diet doesn’t mean restricting calories, cutting out food groups entirely or eating only certain foods. You shift to eating other widely available foods and cutting back on others. And, yes, changing patterns can be challenging, but it’s easier to stick to — and much healthier — than crash diets.

Study after study has found that the Mediterranean diet is excellent for heart health. In fact, a recent study found that following a diet similar to the Mediterranean diet had more of a positive impact on heart health than having a healthy BMI. Now, research is showing that a modified version of the Mediterranean diet may trump it as far as heart benefits go.

The green Mediterranean diet is being heralded as the next big thing. But, we’re not so sure. It’s the same diet. However, you cut out almost all red meat, add in duckweed protein and 28 grams of walnuts a day, drink at least three cups of green tea and eat more fiber. The study that is being cited was tightly controlled. However, it was partly paid for by California Walnuts. And, we don’t like any diet that gives us exact amounts of things we have to eat. That makes us tick a box on our “unsustainable diet” checklist. The Mediterranean diet is meant to be a permanent life change. Are you supposed to eat duckweed protein, 28 grams of walnuts and drink three cups of green tea every day for the rest of your life?

The study split 300 people into three groups for 18 months. All three groups received exercise advice. One group received healthy diet advice, one was told to follow the Mediterranean diet and had a calorie limit and the third was following the green Mediterranean diet with the same calorie limit. All three groups saw beneficial results. The green Mediterranean dieters had the biggest changes in blood pressure, cholesterol and weight. But, while they lost an average of 14 pounds, the normal Mediterranean dieters lost an average of 12 pounds. The people following the green version saw almost a four percent decrease in their LDL cholesterol. People following the standard version saw nearly a one percent drop. Both groups can improve blood sugar levels and better ratios of HDL to LDL cholesterol.

The organizers said that people who wanted to try the diet could replace the duckweed with other forms of protein and omega 3s. That’s good because we’ve never seen duckweed in a store. We really like the Mediterranean diet because it’s manageable. This is far more restrictive. This version of the diet says you cannot have red meat more than twice a month

In the end, we’re all for cutting back on red meat and think adding more nuts to your diet is a great idea. But, we’re not sold on this diet. It may offer some benefits over the traditional Mediterranean diet but, unless you are very good at committing yourself to a plan, this might not be the right choice for you!

Banner image: Lisa Fotios via Pexels
January 22, 2021
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