There are many fad diets like the South Beach diet, keto diet, vegan diet, carnivore diet, and the Mediterranean diet, and all of them are marketed to be the best diet for weight loss, health, and numerous other benefits. It seems suspicious though that a vegan diet and carnivore diet can both be marketed as “the best in (insert benefit here),” yet are completely contradictory diets.
Additionally, the term “diet” can be a bit tricky to navigate in the food world, because of its multiple meanings. Diet can be the food you eat, for example, a vegan diet is one that avoids animal products, but diet can also mean a specific way of eating, often less or in limitation, to achieve a certain goal. The Mediterranean diet can be one that creates confusion because it can be considered both.
Old Ways defines the Mediterranean diet as “a way of eating that is traditional in the countries that surround the Mediterranean,” yet it’s also a specific way of eating that’s prescribed to decrease the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure.
So it is really healthy?
The US News & World Report seems to think so, and named it the best diet for 2022, while US News also gave it the number one spot in five different categories, including the best diet for healthy eating, the best diet for diabetes, the best heart-healthy diet, and the best plant-based diet.
nd the research supports this as well. Harvard reported a study that found that those who followed this type of diet had a 25% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease over the course of 12 years. Additionally, they shared another study that found those who ate the Mediterranean diet were found to have longer telomere length, which is a specific part of our DNA. Specifically, the antioxidants in the foods consistent with the Mediterranean diet supported healthy cells and lessened inflammation, which support preserving our telomere length.
EveryDay Health shared additional benefits of the Mediterranean diet, which included reducing the risk of stroke, helping prevent Alzheimer’s, preventing and managing type 2 diabetes, supporting rheumatoid arthritis, and protecting our bodies from cancer.
Just like any change in diet or choices affecting your overall health and well-being, it’s always safe to check with your healthcare professional in order to make the best choice for you. Always be mindful of allergies and any health issues that may be affected by the foods typical of the diet. However, based on the continued research, there isn’t likely any risk to following the Mediterranean diet, or at least adapting to some aspects of it in your day-to-day.