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Reduce Overeating With the Mediterranean Diet

By Sandy Schroeder

If you would love to lose weight -- and feel satisfied as you do it -- while you protect your heart, exchanging your daily diet for the Mediterranean diet could change everything.

As a confirmed double-double burger consumer (only on alternate Thursdays), and a fan of the Mediterranean diet the rest of the time, I was interested in the Wake Forest School of Medicine research, reported in Obesity, that compared the Western diet (termed SAD) and the Mediterranean diet.

The Western SAD diet often includes large amounts of red meat, chips and french fries fried in saturated and trans-fat oils, heavily sugared pastries, pies, and cookies, sodas, teas, and canned fruits, high-fat ice cream, and large quantities of processed foods instead of fresh fruits and veggies.

The Mediterranean diet revolves around whole grains, healthy fats like olive oil, fresh vegetables and fruits and oily fish.

Looking Closer

The researchers used primates instead of humans to conduct a 38-month study of obesity-related diseases. The length is comparable to nine years of a person's life. They chose primates to control and closely monitor the participants. They said human beings doing self-reporting often prove to be unreliable.

The Western SAD diet and the Mediterranean diet contained comparable amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fats, but the difference came down to having a healthy source or not.

Both groups of primates were similar in body fat and weight, and were permitted to eat as much as they wanted.

What Happened

The ones on the Mediterranean diet ate far less than the ones on the Western SAD diet, and had a lower body weight and less body fat. The Western ones ate way more than they needed and put on weight. The researchers saw this as the difference between eating real food with valuable nutrients and foods full of empty calories. They also said the research indicated the healthy diet protected the primates from pre-diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which is primarily caused by obesity and can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.

You Could Make a Comparison Study

Pencil in your diet next to these components of the Mediterranean diet. Then switch to the Mediterranean diet and see if you eat less, lose more and feel satisfied.

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Legumes
  • Whole grain bread, pasta and cereal
  • Red wine in moderate quantities
  • Fish
  • Minimal amounts of red meat, processed foods and sweets

Track your new diet for a month or more, gradually phasing out as much of the Western diet as possible. If it works, pull your whole family into the experiment. As you go along, you may feel less and less attraction to your regular Western foods as you lose the taste for excess fats and sugars. 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Schaumburg, Ill.

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