How Does the Mediterranean Diet Actually Work? A Dietitian Explains

Photo: AFP

Doctors and dieticians alike have touted the Mediterranean diet as one of the keys to a longer and healthier life for many years. The nutritional components of the diet promote an extensive use of fish, nuts, olive oil and fresh fruit and vegetables as a way to lower cholesterol and improve heart health. Dr. Gregory Poland of the Mayo Clinic and dietician Rachel Berman, author of the book “Mediterranean Diet for Dummies,” appeared on 710 WOR’s Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning program to explain why the diet is so popular and successful. While Dr. Poland plugged the diet’s virtues, Berman- who also happens to be the daughter of Len Berman- suggested that the foods one can incorporate into the diet aren’t as limiting as some might think.

“I think things have evolved since that initial rendering of the Mediterranean diet,” Berman told Berman and Riedel. “What I love about the Mediterranean diet is that it’s really not a restrictive diet in the terms that we know a diet to be. You don’t have to count calories, you don’t have to, you know, really limit any food groups. It’s just about having a balance and choosing more nutritious foods, for the most part.”

Dr. Poland, meanwhile, broke down the health benefits that are attributed to the diet’s lifestyle. “What the medical evidence shows is that it helps you achieve a healthy body weight, about a 30% reduction in the risk for cardiovascular disease, decreased risk of diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, gives you a healthy gut… and decreases the risk of cancer and slowing the decline of brain function with aging, so, you know, what’s not to like about this diet?”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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