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Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet

mediterranean Low-Carb mealA recent article on BBC News was titled Mediterranean diet is best way to tackle obesity, say doctors. The article reported on a study published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal finding that the diet also reduced the risk of heart attacks and strokes compared to a low-fat diet. As in the US the UK health authorities recommend a low-calorie, low-fat diet for their population. The tide in the UK may be turning as it is the US at least at the grassroots level.

Numerous studies in the last 12 years comparing Low-Carb to low-fat also found Low-Carb performs better. One 2008 study published in the NEJM tested Low-Carb, Mediterranean, and low-fat diets, and found that Low-Carb out performed the other two. Low-fat came in last.

The Low-Carb and Mediterranean diets have much in common. Fat intake is higher than US guidelines and whole, minimally processed foods are recommended, including olive oil, nuts and seeds, vegetables etc. Unlike the Med diet, Low-Carb allows a wider selection of animal protein including red meat.  A Low-Carb diet is also careful to recommend plants that have a low glycemic load, especially for people with diabetes or those who are addicted to higher-carb foods, such as grain, and can’t control their intake. Low-Carb doesn’t count calories. If you follow the advice to eat to satiety, you will find the right amount of food for your body.

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    Great job misrepresenting the Mediterranean Diet, Ms. Eberstein.

    As per Wikipedia:

    “The Mediterranean diet is a modern nutritional recommendation originally inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of Greece, Southern Italy, and Spain.[1] The principal aspects of this diet include proportionally high consumption of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits, and vegetables, moderate to high consumption of fish, moderate consumption of dairy products (mostly as cheese and yogurt), moderate wine consumption, and low consumption of meat and meat products.[2]”

    Claiming that LC/LCHF-red meat saturated diet is in any way close to the Med diet, which is high in unrefined carbs and unsaturated fat and low in red meat, is at the least disingenuous, delusional, or intellectually dishonest.

    • Jacqueline Eberstein RN

      I do not believe that I made improper statements in my blog post. I pointed out the similarities and clearly stated the differences between the diets in selections of protein foods including red meats.

      The Mediterranean Diet as we know it today was crafted by Dr. Walter Willett from the Harvard School of Public Heath in the 1990’s. It is similar to the Food Guide Pyramid, limiting meats and saturated fats, a point of view that Dr. Willet supported at the time. He based much of his information on the work of Ancel Keys. Keys’ work has been previously examined in detail and found to be extremely poorly done. Unfortunately, his research was the basis of the USDA dietary guidelines. These guidelines led to the adoption of a high carbohydrate diet while limiting meat and natural fats. Recently, the advice given in the guidelines is being called into question as leading to our epidemic of obesity and diabetes.

      In reality the Mediterranean Diet varied from country to country across the region. In fact the people of Crete who were highlighted in Ancel Keys’ study ate far more meat
      from goats, mutton and beef and consumed whole milk on a regular basis than he acknowledged. For a more in-depth history of the Mediterranean Diet you may wish to review chapter 7 in The Big Fat Surprise authored by Nina Teicholz.


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