The Mediterranean diet certainly isn’t new: experts have been touting the health benefits of the traditional eating patterns of Greece, Italy, and other Mediterranean cultures for decades. The Mediterranean diet’s staying power might come from how well rounded it is, Sinning explained. “It isn’t really a diet as much as a lifestyle that places emphasis on fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains,” she said. “What it excludes are refined carbohydrates, highly processed foods, sugar-filled beverages, saturated fats, and processed meats.”
Because the Mediterranean diet emphasizes a variety of healthy foods, it can help you manage your weight in addition to decreasing your risk of chronic diseases, such as obesity and heart disease. Sinning said it can also improve cognitive function and regulate blood-sugar stability.
Of course, there are a few drawbacks. Sugary snacks and refined carbohydrates are off the menu, meaning you’ll have to avoid your favorite pizza, cookies, or cakes. Instead, Sinning recommended mixing up a shake with dessert-flavored protein powder. The combination of protein and dietary fiber with a deliciously sweet flavor will help satisfy your cravings.
Furthermore, Sinning said that the Mediterranean diet’s flexibility can actually be a downside for some people: if you’re someone who craves structure, you might want to work with a nutritionist or registered dietitian to create a more specific meal plan. Of course, it’s also important to talk to your doctor before starting any new diet or eating plan to make sure it’s right for you.