Participants in a recent study followed a Mediterranean diet that allowed them to eat as many nuts and eggs as they liked, as well as chocolate – as long as it contained more than 50% cocoa. The diet also allowed unlimited amounts of fish, seafood, whole-grain cereals and low-fat cheese. The plan laid out what the participants needed to eat. Olive oil was at the top of the list – to be used in abundance on salads, as well as in cooked vegetables. Lots of fresh fruit, and legumes, which included garbanzo beans, lentils, soybeans and peas.

As might be expected, there were foods to altogether avoid, or eat in limited quantities. They included butter, margarine, cream, lunch meats, fries, potato chips, as well as pastries and baked goods. The researchers added that “industrial desserts” which they defined as custards, puddings, and other desserts that were not homemade should be avoided. For people who drank wine, they could have a glass with meals, at least 7 glasses a week.

A question the researchers were asked often was “what about weight gain with all the oils and nuts?” They reported people did not gain weight when they ate those foods, most likely because they allowed them to feel full so they ate less of other things. Actually, nuts are so filling the participants were asked not to eat them at dinner because they might cut back on other foods. So, are there some foods in the diet that are most significant? The researchers say that don’t really know. It is based on what people in Mediterranean countries used to eat – the study used the diet to see whether or not a combination of foods protected against heart disease. Keep in mind that everyone has different nutritional needs. There may be some foods in the Mediterranean diet that are not right for you – check with your doctor before starting a new diet plan…..  nytimes.com   2/26/13

 

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