Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Green Mediterranean Diet

During the 1960s, countries such as Italy and Greece followed the diet that has become known as the Mediterranean diet. And people in Mediterranean countries that followed the diet were very healthy compared to Americans who follow common American diets. The Mediterranean diet has been found to improve health and lower premature death. Further, a recent study found that a modified version of the diet, called the green Mediterranean diet, may be healthier.

The Mediterranean diet consists mostly of fruits, vegetables, whole foods, and a moderate amount of meat products, including cheese, poultry and eggs. There is also very infrequent use of red meat, and no use of sugar sweetened beverages or processed foods.

The green Mediterranean diet is not substantially different from the original Mediterranean diet. It essentially replaces the red meat with plant protein, and reduces the amount of all animal protein. A person replaces the animal protein with things like quinoa, soy milk and other sources of protein.

In the study mentioned above, participants were assigned to three groups. One of the groups was the healthy diet guidance (HDG) group; another group was the Mediterranean diet group, and the other group was the green Mediterranean diet group. In the study, all three of the diets were combined with physical activity. After six months, participants in the Mediterranean and the green Mediterranean diet groups had similar weight loss.

However, participants in the green Mediterranean group had greater improvement in the cholesterol, diastolic blood pressure, insulin resistance, and other metabolic parameters. The researchers concluded that “the green MED diet, supplemented with walnuts, green tea and Mankai and lower [helpings of meat and poultry] may amplify the beneficial cardio metabolic effects of Mediterranean diet.”

It appears that while the Mediterranean diet is a very healthy diet, the green Mediterranean diet, which is more plant-based with increased intake of plants that are heavy in protein, may be even healthier. Healthcare providers should consider the green Mediterranean diet when counseling patients.


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