Is the Mediterranean Diet the Healthiest Diet? | Eat Smarter | Dietitian Q&A


Okay, I love this question. Is the Mediterranean diet the healthiest diet? Kind of. (hip upbeat music) What is the Mediterranean diet? Lots of vegetables, lots of whole grains, fruits. They’re very unprocessed and also, rich in olive oi, fish, healthy fats they’re getting in their diets, a little bit of red wine, which is always a fun thing to know about the Mediterranean diet, and they don’t eat a lot of added sugar, processed foods, sweets, things like that. I’m trying the Mediterranean diet for the first time. Where do I start? And so, anytime you’re making any dietary changes, you don’t wanna completely overhaul your diet. You wanna start small and do things that you can stick with. Carrot sticks as a snack are able to add a serving of vegetables to your dinner. That’s a great place to start. The other thing you can do is use olive oil when you cook instead of other oils. So, if you’re cooking with a lot of butter or vegetable oils, go Mediterranean and use olive oil. Is the Mediterranean diet the healthiest diet? Kind of. It was just voted the number one diet this year for the first time by U.S. News and World Report, which is a huge deal ’cause they look at a ton of different diets. But of course, you have to eat in a way that works for you, so adopt the principles you can and kinda make it work and fit in your lifestyle. Can you eat pizza on the Mediterranean diet? Why, yes you can. So, pizza’s traditionally an Italian food and Italy is part of the Mediterranean region. The thing that we often misunderstand about the Mediterranean diet is when we brought it over to America, a lot of those Mediterranean foods have just a ton of cheese on them, and the traditional Mediterranean diet actually has much less cheese. I’m not saying you can’t have pizza. You can definitely enjoy it. You can definitely put cheese on it, but you’ll also again want to incorporate meals that use a lot of vegetables and whole grains, and again, those fruits and healthy fats that we’re talking about. But definitely enjoy your pizza night, and bonus if you can put some veggies on it. Is the Mediterranean diet better than Keto? Yeah, such a great question! Keto is a new diet. It’s very trendy, ultra low-carb, ultra high-fat, and it cuts out all those healthy foods that the Mediterranean diet is known for, so lots of vegetables have too many carbs to be eaten on a Keto diet, almost no fruits can be eaten on a Keto diet, and no whole grains. There’s a lot of healthy foods that you’re eliminating when you do Keto, and the Mediterranean diet is really rich in those healthy foods. How do I follow the Mediterranean diet while eating out? Think about adding vegetables when you can, so salads, roasted vegetables. Is there a side dish of vegetables that you could add onto your entree if it doesn’t come with? Look at the menu for whole grains. If there’s brown rice or quinoa on the menu, that could be a great option. Is the Mediterranean diet good for people with diabetes? So, the healthiest way for people to eat who have diabetes is actually just generally healthy for all of us. All of us should be eating a good balance of carbohydrates and protein and healthy fats, and the Mediterranean diet includes all that. If you have diabetes, definitely talk to your doctor about what works for you, but you can definitely eat a Mediterranean-style diet when you have diabetes. Can I do the Mediterranean diet if I don’t like fish? Absolutely. Seafood is one of the things about the Mediterranean diet that’s associated with health benefits, but it’s not the only thing. They’re also eating a lot of plant-based protein, so those legumes, they’re getting whole grains in their diet, but it is recommended to try seafood twice a week, so if you just haven’t found the right type of fish that you like, maybe try a different preparation. You could try some shrimp or some salmon on the grill, and if you just don’t eat fish, again, you can still get those healthy fats in. Choose nuts often, choose avocados, olive oil. Is the Mediterranean diet good for kids too? Kids should be able to enjoy all foods and not be restricted. However, at the same time, you wanna also offer lots of healthy foods to your kids. Whole grains, your fruits, your vegetables. Of course, kids can and should enjoy those foods. Even if they think they don’t like them at first, keep offering, and get those healthy fats and the seafood in your kid’s diet is great for kids too. What are the best Mediterranean diet snacks? Carrots and hummus would be a great option or cucumbers. You could do any type of fruit. Apples paired with almonds. You take your fruit and you’re getting that really nice high-quality carbohydrate pairing it with a healthy fat like a nut, which is gonna slow down that absorption of carbs into your bloodstream. It’s gonna help keep you fuller for longer and avoid those blood sugar spikes and crashes. If you’re really on-the-go, dried fruits also can be a great option ’cause it’s a little bit more portable. Oh, that was the last one. I hope you guys learned a lot about the Mediterranean diet and you feel ready to get started if you haven’t already. If you have any more questions, let us know in the comments. I’d love to answer them. (hip upbeat music)

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