Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mediterranean Diet - Pros And Cons Of The Mediterranean Lifestyle

Mediterranean Diet - Pros And Cons Of The Mediterranean Lifestyle Robert Palmer

What is the Mediterranean Diet all about and what are its benefits and drawbacks? The Mediterranean Diet can basically be attributed to the recent recognition that of those living in Europe, those in the Mediterranean live longest on average.

Why might this be, you ask? Well, researchers believe that the secret lies in their diet. While the Mediterranean Diet is not a concrete diet plan like South Beach or Atkins, and the diets of those countries within the region differ by certain degrees, there are still certain traits that have been found to be universal.

First off, in the Mediterranean, there is a large consumption of fruits, vegetables, potatoes, cereals, beans, seeds, nuts, and bread. Secondly, olive oil is commonly used for cooking and dressings. Thirdly, there is a moderate consumption of fish but little red meat. Fourth, there is a low to moderate amount of full fat cheeses and yogurt that is consumed. And contrary to popular belief, there is only a moderate consumption of wine that is usually only had during meals. Also, there is a strong reliance on seasonal produce. And lastly, those living in the Mediterranean live an active lifestyle which is vital for complete state of fitness

So, what are some of the benefits to this Mediterranean lifestyle? In a recent 4 year study, the diets of over 22,000 Greeks were studied and the closer they adhered to a traditional Greek diet, the less likely they were to die from either heart disease or cancer.

Overall, the traditionalists found themselves 25% less likely to die during the 4 year study period, which suggests that adherents of traditional diet die later rather then sooner. In comparison to Americans, Greeks are 20% less likely to die from coronary artery disease and are 33% less likely to develop cancer.

Is there a solid reasoning behind this increased protection from heart disease and cancer? Yes, and the reason lies in their consumption of olive oil and oily fish such as sardines, which contain, in the case of olive oil, monounsaturated fats while the fish contains polyunsaturated fats called omega-3 fatty acids. Both can help protect your heart.

Furthermore, the large consumption of fruits and vegetables like tomatoes will further reinforce your body against cancer and heart disease by providing plenty of valuable antioxidants. So, are there any downsides to this Mediterranean diet? All in all, no, but if you find yourself active, eat a good bit more protein throughout the day.

They recommend eating fish, eggs and poultry a few times a week. I’d have some good protein with every meal just to make sure all of the bases are covered. One of the only issues that people will be confronted with is it requires frequent cooking, and if you are too busy or lazy to do that then you will only be gleaning some of its benefits.

Also, this “diet” is hard to criticize since it is not as restrictive and regimented as Atkins and others are. To me, that only creates shortcomings which translates into nutritional imbalances. So, apply the protein-enhanced Mediterranean principle to the concept of eating 5 small meals a day and you’ll truly be living a life fit for a Greek.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Importance Of A Proper Diet

The Importance Of A Proper Diet by Ward Tipton

Nearly everyone understands not only the difficulties of losing weight, but also the actual physical problems, which are associated with binge eating. No matter what the cause for eating improperly, the effects are devastating, long lasting and very difficult to overcome. What many people do not understand is one of the best methods for eating regularly, not going hungry and still being able to maintain or even lose weight

It is best to consult a physician or a qualified medical professional before beginning any new diet regimen. However, this is more an eating habit rather than an actual diet. It may take some time to grow accustomed to but it has been shown to have very beneficial side effects, including sustainable weight loss when combined with healthy foods and a regular program for exercise.

In many Western cultures, it is customary to eat three large meals on a daily basis. In between these meals, snacks and other foods are commonly eaten whether to satisfy a mere craving or actual hunger. In many of the Asian countries and historically, in some of the Nordic cultures as well, it is very common to eat more than three meals a day. So if these people are eating more, how could that possibly assist them in losing weight?

Rather than consuming three large meals a day with numerous snacks in between, it is much more common to have up to six actual meals a day. These are often full course meals including a main dish, side dishes, vegetables and other “real” foods. Rather than filling up on processed and preserved foods, they eat actual meals throughout the course of the day. This portion of the “diet” alone prevents them from having cravings for many of the fatty foods that many people constantly seek out whether consciously or not, for quick energy boosts. It also allows them to avoid hunger pangs, which are also commonly dealt with by consuming fatty and less-healthy foods in many other cultures

Because they are eating six times a day, hunger is less common. While there are many excuses for not complying with a diet like this, it is not nearly as difficult as it may seem either. Breakfast is by far, the most important meal of the day. A healthy and nutritious breakfast should help you get your day off to a good start and prepare you for what is to come. But what can you do while you are at work? How will this diet help people who have to work every day and do not always have time to prepare full meals?

Well, most people have short breaks in the morning and the afternoon when they are at work. Breakfast should have been taken care of when you were at home. Try cooking a little bit more than you normally would in the evenings. That way, you have an extra couple of small portions to take with you to work. Rather than eating large meals, the increased number of meals makes it possible to eat much less, especially when the meals are healthy and well balanced.

Granted, it may not be comfortable having to wolf down even a small meal in a fifteen-minute break, but isn’t that what you already do with the junk foods you eat during those same break times? When you get home from work, try having another small meal. In the evening, you will find that you are eating much less for dinner simply because of the new diet you are working with. You may find that even those people around you who are not trying to lose weight will come to enjoy the benefits of eating on this schedule as well.