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Choosing the Best Diet for You

Every day it seems a new diet fad hits the news, often endorsed by a celebrity or TV personality. How can you decide which diet is best for you? There is a variable amount of research backing each of these diets. One diet that has been carefully scrutinized in clinical trials is the Mediterranean diet.

As its name implies, the Mediterranean diet is derived from the eating patterns of the people who live on or near the Mediterranean Sea, such as in Greece, Italy and Spain. The traditional Mediterranean diet includes a high intake of whole grains, fruits, vegetable, nuts, and olive oil; a moderate intake of fish, poultry and wine, and a low intake of dairy products, red meat, processed meat and sweets.

Adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with not only weight reduction but also a decreased risk of death from heart disease, cancer and all from all causes, particularly in individuals who get moderate exercise and avoid smoking.  Both cancer survivors and individuals at risk of cancer may benefit significantly from adhering to a Mediterranean diet in combination with other healthy lifestyle behaviors. With its abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, summer is the perfect time to make those changes in your diet to convert to a Mediterranean pattern.

Reference:

Knoops et al., JAMA 2004; 292(12):1433-1439.

Estruch et al., NEJM 2013; 368(140:1279-1290.

Walker TB, Parker MJ. J Am Coll Nutr. 2014;Jun 9: 1-5 (Epub ahead of print)