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What is a Mediterranean Diet?

Learn more about the Mediterranean diet.
In this article, you will learn more about the Mediterranean diet.

What is a Mediterranean Diet?

  • As the name suggests, the Mediterranean diet comprises the cultural eating habits from Italy, Greece, Spain, and Morocco.
  • It recommends increasing intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, non-refined grains, nuts, olives, and fish as well as daily use of olive oil as the primary source of dietary fat. It also allows red wine to be drunk in moderation where appropriate.
  • It has some similarities to the DASH diet, however, it also advises reducing intake of meat, eggs, and dairy products which are typically highly represented in a Western diet.
  • The Mediterranean diet has a higher ratio of mono-unsaturated fats to saturated fats (≥ 2:1) which is much higher than other regional diets.15
Image of Harvard Food Pyramid and two bubbles. Do: No specific fat restriction as long as fats are derived from fatty fish or plant sources (e.g. olive oil, salmon, nuts), High monosaturated (e.g. olive oil) to saturated fat (meat) ratio - suggested at least 2:1, High intake of legumes, fruits, vegetables, grains, and cereals. Don't: Reduced meat and dairy intake, Moderate intake of fish, red meat and dairy, Low intake of processed meat, meats and eggs, Low intake of sweets.
Summary of the Mediterranean diet pyramid: image source from the Harvard Food Pyramid

What is the Evidence?

There is moderate to high-level evidence showing that a Mediterranean diet plays a role in primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease and diabetes and improves health in patients who are overweight or obese.16 The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners supports its use to manage overweight and obesity

Resources for Patients and Health Professionals Offering Support

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners – download and read this below Additional information can also be found on the RACGP website
Patient.co, a United Kingdom website developed for patients, is also recommended by RACGP: https://patient.info/heart-health/cardiovascular-disease-atheroma/mediterranean-diet
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