The Mediterranean Diet offers a healthy, tasty, aromatic array of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, wild greens, fish, olive oil, and red wine while sharply reducing intake of milk products, meat, processed foods, sweets, and caffeine. The MD prevents cardiovascular disorders, reduces the incidence of cancer and diabetes, and—it appears—curbs neurodegenerative processes. It is strange, therefore, that, in spite of the pressing need to confront the global obesity epidemic, the MD has received relatively little attention in regard to its potential for weight loss.
One reason may be that the centrality of olive oil in the MD seems flagrantly at odds with the need to reduce body fat. Another reason: the MD threatens the profits of the dairy and meat industries, the processed food industry, the beverage industry (except for red wine), pharmaceutical companies, and commercial dieting companies. So it is often ignored in discussions of approaches to weight loss. A third reason: the MD is not really a diet at all in the sense of a way of reducing energy intake in order to reduce weight. It is rather a traditional cuisine—a mode of ordinary healthy eating. And it contains no agreed-upon prescriptions regarding portion size or the exact balance of various ingredients. Continue reading »