Does the Mediterranean diet help you lose weight with its traditional recipes?

Is it possible or not to lose weight with the Mediterranean diet ? Very often it is customary to think that it is enough to bring to the table the basic foods of this diet typical of our country and of our tradition to be able to lose weight. Not taking into account many other factors that are indispensable for those who want to lose weight. The recipes of the Mediterranean diet alone are not enough, even if they are already a good starting point.

The Mediterranean diet , declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, contains fundamental principles for a healthy and balanced diet . Provided you know what to eat and how much. Obviously combining a bit of healthy physical activity and providing for a reduction in calories based on real needs, especially if you want to lose pounds.

To understand how the Mediterranean diet can help us lose weight , we wanted to ask a few questions to Dr. Alessandra Parisi dietician, from MioDottore who joined the online video consulting project activated by the platform. To better understand how the recipes of the Mediterranean diet (and those of our grandparents) can help us stay healthy.

What is the Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet is not just a type of diet, but a real philosophy of life . The vaunted benefits, such as achieving and / or maintaining the correct cholesterol levels , intestinal regularity and many others, are really achievable only if combined with constant – albeit moderate – physical activity and the correct application of some rules, such as frequency of food intake and their quality.

Foods of the Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet includes:

  • the introduction of many fibers, through seasonal fruit and vegetables, with a prevalence of raw vegetables
  • low glycemic index whole grains
  • protein sources such as white meat two to three times a week
  • red meat two or three times a month
  • blue fish three or four times a week
  • fresh eggs – usually home-grown – a couple of times a week and also used as breakfast
  • legumes three times a week, to be combined with a cereal such as rice or pasta (pasta with legumes was called the “meat of the poor”, precisely because the amino acid profile of the two components is incomplete, but consuming them together can be superimposed on that of meat , albeit of vegetable derivation)
  • cheeses and dairy products, in small quantities, a couple of times a week and above all fresh

The use of fresh, seasonal foods is what makes this diet such a popular and healthy model.

The rules of the “real” Mediterranean diet

A common mistake is to think that the Mediterranean diet is simply eating a little bit of everything, regardless of the frequency of food intake or the quality of the same. In fact, the true Mediterranean diet, recognized in 2010 as a World Heritage Site , is based on habits of life different from the current ones.

At the time we worked in the fields or went to work on foot, we did not use the car because it was a luxury item reserved for a few, we dined at sunset, processed foods were at most aged cheeses or meat under salt, but only if there was an abundance and therefore conservation had to be used, otherwise the product was grown, harvested and consumed in this way.

This is the reason why the supply of mineral salts and vitamins was correct in relation to the needs. While today it is often necessary to resort to supplementation in order not to risk deficiencies.

Is the Mediterranean diet a weight loss diet?

The Mediterranean diet , like all diets, can be considered slimming only if hypocaloric , that is, if you introduce less kcal than those consumed during the day and compared to those consumed up to the moment in which you decide to go on a diet.

What makes you lose weight , in addition to physical activity, is precisely the gap between the amount of food expressed in kcal that you introduce and the amount of energy that you can spend, that is, to consume, during the day. If, as a rule, your eating day consists of 6 meals, just reduce them to 4 to lose weight.

However, this is not always synonymous with proper weight loss . In fact, we must consider that weight is only a number on the scale and to lose weight in the correct way it is important to lose fat mass, preserving lean mass, without risking dehydration by losing water.

The Mediterranean diet is certainly an excellent ally, because in addition to weight loss it maintains good health, being rich in antioxidant foods, such as the aforementioned fruit, vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, which is one of the few fats that are used in this diet, and a glass of red wine once a day, in the absence of particular pathologies.

The principles of the Mediterranean diet are useful for healthy weight loss

To lose weight with a Mediterranean diet protocol, you must first establish your calorie needs, including all the activities of the day. The percentages of macronutrients will then be defined:

  • carbohydrates can be consumed from a minimum of 45-46% to a maximum of 55-60%
  • fats must not exceed 30%, with a predominance of vegetable fats (olive oil, small amount of nuts)
  • proteins are about 15-20% of the daily caloric quota, with a prevalence of proteins of vegetable origin

It is evident that there is a lot of difference between the various percentages, for this reason the professional will have to understand what the patient’s need is and create a personalized protocol to help him lose weight correctly.

Are the typical recipes of the Mediterranean diet suitable for all ages and for all people, even those who are
sick?

The typical recipes of the Mediterranean diet, such as the aforementioned pasta and legumes , can be suitable for the whole population, both healthy subjects and those with pathologies, but it is essential that the diet is personalized.

In fact, the same recipe will have to be balanced differently for a young, healthy and sporty subject, who will therefore need a high intake of complex carbohydrates (pasta, rice) and an adequate intake of proteins, but it will change a lot if you are preparing instead. a meal plan for a person over 70 years of age, with significant overweight and kidney disease.

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