Skip Nav
Should I Count Total Carbs or Net Carbs on the Keto Diet?
Keto
The Big Mistake You Could Be Making When Counting Carbs on the Keto Diet
Starbucks Calories Infographic
Calorie Breakdowns
If You're Starbucks-Obsessed but Watching Your Calories, You Need to See This Infographic
Jillian Michaels's Tips For Gaining Muscle
Jillian Michaels
Jillian Michaels Says Losing Weight and Building Muscle Isn’t About How Often You Work Out, It’s This

What Is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean Diet Isn't Really a Diet . . . It's So Much More

The Mediterranean diet, voted best overall diet by US News & World Report (well, it tied with the more prescriptive and limiting DASH diet, but this one is more fun), technically isn't a diet even though it's great for weight loss. It's more a regional nutritional philosophy. The Med diet borrows from all the cuisines of the area — think Greek, Italian, and northern African fare with a little bit of Spain and southern France thrown in. The "diet" emphasizes fruits and veggies, olive oil, and healthy fats from nuts, fish, beans, and whole grains.

A Harvard study found it to be the best diet for sustainable weight loss. Rather than giving up entire food groups, like carbs, the focus is eating healthful foods in moderation, which makes the diet easy to stick to. And yes, this means the occasional glass of red wine is part of this heart-healthy diet. Meals in this region are also traditionally low in red meat and saturated fats. Check out the Mediterranean food pyramid created by the culinary and nutritional think tank Oldways, and you see that fish and seafood play a larger part in the cuisine than dairy, eggs, or red meat. And the dairy in this region tends to be cultured and rich in beneficial probiotics, like yogurt, kefir, and ricotta. It's also helpful to think of this way of eating as primarily plant-based, with hummus or white beans as a primary source of protein rather than a thick cut of steak.

Reasons to eat this cuisine go beyond managing your waistline. The populations of countries bordering the Mediterranean have been found to have increased longevity and lower incidences of heart attack, stroke, and heart-disease-related deaths, especially when compared to people eating a traditional Western diet that lacks staples found in the Med diet.

Here are a few Mediterranean recipes to help you understand the diet and hopefully inspire you to taste the healthful flavors of the cuisine:

  • Tabbouleh is bulgur wheat, a whole grain, mixed with copious amounts of parsley then tossed with olive oil and tomatoes.
  • Shakshuka, from northern Africa, features eggs cooked in a spicy tomato sauce and is full of flavor.
  • Marinated chickpea salad is full of zesty flavors, and the legume shines as the main protein.
From Our Partners
Jillian Michaels Workout Advice
Should I Count Total Carbs or Net Carbs on the Keto Diet?
Keto Diet Grocery List From Trader Joe's
Jillian Michaels's Tips For Gaining Muscle
How to Lose Weight For Good, According to a Fat-Loss Coach
Bodyweight Workout For Weight Loss
Keto Meat and Protein List
How to Burn Belly Fat For Women
How Does Weight Watchers Work?
Worst Food to Eat at Night
Kayla Itsines Diet
Quick Way to Lose Belly Fat
From Our Partners
Latest Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds