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Should I follow the Mediterranean diet? - Is it safe, healthy and effective?


In short - Yes! it is a healthy dietary pattern with evidence showing its potential to improve overall health and reduce risk of disease.

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Should I follow the Mediterranean diet? - Is it safe, healthy and effective?

What is the Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet is technically not a ‘diet’ as such; it is more of a way of life based on the dietary traditions of Greece and southern Italy in the 1950s and 1960s. At the time, rates of chronic disease in these areas were among the lowest in the world.

The Mediterranean diet has a strong focus on intake of core foods in addition to olive oil, coffee and wine, and low intake of meat, sugar and highly processed foods.

What foods are eaten in the Mediterranean diet?

The following foods are encouraged regularly:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Cereals
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts
  • Weekly intake of oily fish such as (mackerel, herring, sardines)
  • Herbs and spices instead of salt
  • Wine and coffee in moderation

The following foods are limited:

  • Red and processed meat
  • High sugar foods (i.e., desserts such as ice cream)

What are the potential benefits of the Mediterranean diet?

1) Reduced disease risk: There is strong scientific evidence from a systematic meta-review of 626 studies which showed that the Mediterranean diet can improve health status and may reduce risk of all-cause mortality, cancer, heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes.

2) Improve cognitive functioning: There is a moderate degree of evidence from 5 studies which showed a higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduced risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.

3) Weight loss: While the focus of the Mediterranean diet is not weight loss, when combined with a kilojoule restriction, it can be effective for weight loss. A review of 16 studies showed an average reduction of -1.75kg in those adhering to the Mediterranean diet when compared to control diet. This was even greater in studies greater than 6-months (-2.69kg) and when combined with physical activity (-4.01kg)

What are the downsides and risks of Mediterranean diet?

There are no known risk or side-effects associated with the Mediterranean diet.

The bottom line:

The Mediterranean diet is a healthy dietary pattern with strong evidence demonstrating its benefits to reducing disease risk and weight loss. The effects of this diet are even stronger when combined with other healthy lifestyle habits such as physical activity and avoidance of tobacco smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

To find out if your diet is healthy check out our Healthy Eating Quiz

Your Personal Healthy Eating Quiz

What you eat or don’t eat affects how you look, feel and perform. Take our short quiz to find out what foods you could introduce to help you be your best.

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What is healthy eating?

Eating healthy is making sure you enjoy a wide variety of foods from each of the five major food groups daily, in the amounts recommended. The five major food groups as recommended by the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating are:

  1. vegetables and legumes/bean
  2. fruit
  3. lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, legumes/beans
  4. grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties
  5. milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives, mostly reduced fat.

Foods are grouped together because they provide similar amounts of key nutrients and eating a variety of foods from the list above helps to promote good health and reduce the risk of disease.

How do I improve my diet?

If you want to improve your diet you have come to the right place. By completing the Healthy Eating Quiz you’ll receive instant personalised feedback and a report on your diet quality to highlight any areas where you can improve your overall eating habits. Your score is based on the frequency and variety of the foods consumed from the five major food groups mentioned above. No Money No Time can help you improve your score by providing tips, goals and suggestions. On top of this we will provide quick, cheap and healthy recipes as well as credible answers to diet hacks, myths and FAQ’s.

Is my diet healthy?

Dietary habits are different between people. Some people choose to follow a particular diet (i.e., Keto diet or vegan diet) while some have to make changes due to certain food restrictions or health conditions. If you want to know if what you usually eat is healthy, then do the Healthy Eating Quiz today to give you the answers in less than 10 minutes.

Why is healthy eating important?

Your HEQ score and personalised feedback report is based on the frequency and variety of healthy core foods you usually eat. This is important because no single food contains all the nutrients we need to stay healthy. Some foods are higher in nutrients than others and people who have a lot of variety in the foods they eat are more likely to be healthy and to stay healthy. In other words, if you can eat a large variety of vegetables as opposed to only 2-3 types of vegetables, the benefits are much greater. This type of diet also helps you to feel better, think better and perform better during your usual daily activities.

Take the Healthy Eating Quiz