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10 things you should know before starting the Mediterranean diet – INSIDER

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  • The Mediterranean diet was named the best diet for 2019.
  • If you’re looking to try the popular diet, there are some things you should know.
  • Don’t expect rigid rules and instead expect to eat healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and lots of fish.

Losing weight is no easy feat. And when you add in the hundreds of different weight loss plans on the market, deciding which diet to try can be tricky. Fortunately, the US News and World Report Best Diet Rankings takes the guesswork out of choosing a diet plan. This year, the Mediterranean diet tops the list of the best overall diets for 2019.

If you’re ready to give the number one diet plan a try, but you’re not sure what you need to know, we’ve got you covered. INSIDER asked the experts for insight on what you need to know before starting the Mediterranean diet.

This is not a traditional diet

Say goodbye to rigid rules and boring meals.

“The Mediterranean diet is a real food approach to eating and drinking,” Sophia Malek, MSN, a culinary nutritionist at Bob’s Red Mill, told INSIDER.

Touted as more of a lifestyle rather than a diet, she said the Mediterranean diet encourages eating with family, savoring your food, and enjoying a glass of wine here and there (if you wish it).

The Mediterranean diet is backed by substantial research

Research suggests the Mediterranean diet can improve cardiovascular health.
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Registered dietician, Amanda Kostro Miller, LDN, who serves on the advisory board for Family Living Today, told INSIDER that the diet is backed by substantial research in regards to overall wellness promotion and disease prevention.

This diet shows promising benefits of improved cognition, reduced cancer risk, improved cardiovascular health, improved labs (i.e., HDL and LDL cholesterol), reduction in diabetes risk, and a longer life span.

You may want to consider a slow start

Neurologist Ayesha Sherzai, MD, and her husband Dean Sherzai, MD, told INSIDER that a slow start might be the way to go for some people.

“We have sometimes found it to be helpful for individuals with complaints of bloating due to a quick and dramatic change to a whole foods, plant-based diet, to, first of all, start slowly,” they explained.

Consider gradually adding plant foods to your diet while cutting out meats, sweets, fast foods, and sugary drinks.

You will eat a lot of fruits and vegetables

Some fruits and veggies cause bloating and digestion issues.
Sean Gallup/ Getty Images

The bulk of your meals will include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Feel free to feast on veggies such as artichoke, asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, celery, carrots, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumber, onion, green and wax beans, zucchini, turnips, peppers, salad greens, and mushrooms.

You can also snack on fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.

Healthy fats are a big part of your daily diet

If you’ve been programmed to think fat is the enemy, you’re not alone. While you should avoid saturated and trans fats, there are other sources of fat your body needs to maintain optimal health.

“On the Mediterranean diet, fat comes from unsaturated sources like nuts, seeds, and oils,” registered dietician Rachel Fine told INSIDER. Olive oil is a staple on the Mediterranean plan.

The fat in olive oil, monounsaturated fat, is known for various health benefits including playing a role in reducing LDL cholesterol levels.

Nuts, seeds, and legumes are a staple of the Mediterranean diet

Chickpeas with olive oil and spices are a go-to on the Mediterranean diet.
Flickr/kake_pugh

Almonds, pistachios, and tahini (toasted sesame seed paste) are just a few of the nuts you can expect to enjoy on this diet. Malek said that nuts and seeds offer protein, heart-healthy fats, and vitamins and nutrients that nourish your body.

“You can find legumes featured as a protein and fiber source in many Mediterranean dishes,” she explained. Think garlicky white beans smashed on whole wheat sourdough bread with fresh oregano, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar or a barley and garbanzo bean soup.

She said you can enjoy lentils, garbanzo beans, white beans, fava beans, and many more on this heart-healthy diet.

Read more: 11 of the best foods to eat on the Mediterranean diet

Whole grains are part of the package

Unlike other popular diet plans that exclude whole grains, the Mediterranean diet gives you the green light to eat plenty of healthy whole grains such as bulgur, barley, farro, and freekeh.

Malek said a Mediterranean favorite is farro, which is a whole wheat that is semi-pearled, which you might find as a salad served alongside fish or as a main course.

Lean protein will round out your meals

Expect to frequently see fish on your dinner table.
Shutterstock/Olga Lyubkina

Seafood lovers, get ready to practice your culinary skills on the Mediterranean diet because you get to eat fish and seafood at least twice a week. Other protein sources such as cheese, chicken, eggs, and yogurt are also ok, but in moderation. And red meat should only make an occasional appearance at the dinner table. Lean proteins can also come from plant-based sources (i.e., quinoa, faro, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds).

Fine said that choosing such options can promote additional benefits like weight management.

There are some foods you’re encouraged to avoid

With the Mediterranean diet, you have the freedom to eat from all food groups. However, there are some foods you’re encouraged to avoid including refined sugar, refined grains, trans fats, refined oils, processed meats, and highly processed foods.

Read more: 7 foods you should avoid on the Mediterranean diet

It might not cost you a ton of money

A daily dose of fish, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats may seem like it’s going to cost you a pretty penny, but the reality is, the money you’ll spend on the Mediterranean diet is not a whole lot more than the processed items you buy at the store.

When you’re at the grocery store, Kostro Miller said to hit the produce section first and try to plan your meals around what produce is in season and available.

“Make the fruits and vegetables the highlight of the meal, then go to the deli for your lean protein sources such as fresh fish,” she added.

Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.

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Diet Plans

Lisa Riley weight loss: Emmerdale star shed a staggering 12st with this diet plan – Express

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Lisa Riley is an actress and presenter who played the role of Mandy Dingle in Emmerdale between 1995 and 2001, and again in 2019.  She has also appeared on television as a panelist on the ITV show, Loose Women.  Recently, fans have noticed Lisa go through a huge weight loss transformation where she has lost a remarkable 12st.  Lisa has also slimmed down by seven dress sizes, but how did she lose the weight?

The actress revealed she slimmed down waistline and opened up to share tips on how others can do the same.

Speaking to the Mirror, Lisa explained how slimmers can stay on top of their goals and get back on track after a set back.

She said: “Everyone is bound to have little blips along the way, but don’t see that as failure and a signal to give up – just draw a line under it and move on.”

Lisa revealed she likes to start her day with a cup of hot water and lemon and binned all junk food from her cupboards when trying to lose weight.

She also used portion control to help her slim down from a size 28 to a trim size 12.

Lisa told the Mirror: “I had made myself fat by gorging on bread, crisps, crumpets and red wine.

“Once I accepted responsibility for my health, weight and lifestyle it made it easier to take control. You don’t have to have starter, main and pudding.

“If you are doing that you are eating too much.”

The soap star has also used her Instagram profile to give fans an insight into how she has stayed in shape.

Posting a picture of her before and after losing weight on Instagram, she revealed cutting out alcohol also helped her achieve her slim figure.

She posted: “Making this my lifestyle at least five days a week.

“I watch what I eat day in day out, STILL not a drop of alcohol in nearly four years. THIS IS CHANGE OF LIFE…..not a diet.”

The star also uses her Instagram account to post pictures of her healthy meals to give fans a glimpse of what she eats day-to-day.

Lisa revealed she exercises for a minimum of 30-minutes every day and has started eating meals out of a bowl to help with portion control.

The Emmerdale star released her diet book, Honesty Diet, and one woman recently lost 1st 6lb following the plan for 28-days.

Slimmer Claire documented her weight loss on ITV’s Save Money: Lose Weight and showed how Lisa’s plan helped her slim down from 18st 8lb to 17st 2lb in just four weeks. 

For those hoping to slim down, picking up this book could be a good place to start, and there are also other diet plans available.

Dieters can lose up to 10lb in one week by following the low-carb high-fat ketogenic diet plan. 

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The Optavia Diet Ranked High for Fast Weight Loss—Here's What You Need to Know About It – Health.com

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What Is the Optavia Diet, and Can It Help You Lose Weight? – Health

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The Keto Diet Has Swept Social Media And That's A Good Thing – Forbes

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Ketogenic diet.

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Social media has become a prime avenue for healthcare content and advice, especially among millennials. Dieting and nutrition, in particular, are among the top trending subjects. In fact, a recent survey of 1300 dietitians conducted by the Pollock Communications Network and Today’s Dietitian showed that the keto diet is now the most popular among consumers. This should come as no surprise considering the level of buzz around it online. It’s been adopted and promoted by celebrities including LeBron James, Tim Tebow, Halle Berry and Kourtney Kardashian. Keto diet is on the rise among the rest of us as well.

So is it as healthy and beneficial as most of us think? Below is a deep dive on the matter.

What is keto?

Keto or the ketogenic diet emphasizes an abundance of healthy fats, a proper amount of protein and low carbs, according to Dr. Eric Berg, a renowned keto expert. It was initially created to help people with epilepsy control their symptoms. Keto has also been determined to be a great option for people with type 2 diabetes. Today, many people use the diet for weight loss and as part of their overall fitness plans.

“Keto works by helping dieters move their bodies into a state of ketosis. This is a natural, metabolic process that occurs when the body doesn’t have glucose to burn for energy. Instead, it consumes its own fat stores,” said Dr. Berg.

What are the benefits of keto?

The keto diet is popular for good reason. People who follow it are often very pleasantly surprised by the results they get. This includes:

  • Better skin: Studies have shown that keto stabilizes blood sugar and improves gut bacteria. This can reduce acne and other skin problems.
  • Improved heart health: Diets in healthy fats are high in the fatty acids needed for improved heart health.
  • Seizure reduction: People who have epilepsy are often instructed to follow this high fat diet. By maintaining a state of ketosis, they can reduce the frequency of their seizures.
  • Weight loss: This is probably the key reason for keto’s popularity. Simply put, your body works harder to burn fat as fuel than glucose. This leads to faster weight loss for many.
  • Satiety: Because the keto diet emphasizes fats and proteins, it’s a very satisfying diet. Followers feel fuller longer and many of the foods that fall within the diet’s guidelines are quite tasty and indulgent.
  • Reduced cancer risk: A recent study indicates that the ketogenic diet can complement traditional cancer treatments to help patients obtain better end results.
  • Better cognitive function: This is an area where more study is required, but it appears as if the keto diet may have beneficial or preventative effects on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It may also lead to improved cognitive function and better alertness.
  • Blood sugar regulation: This high fat, low carb diet has proven time and time again to benefit people with type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Berg adds that “When used correctly, the ketogenic diet can be used as a tool for people who want to optimize their health. I’ve witnessed patients lose weight, enjoy higher energy levels and eliminate many health problems. Combined with exercise and healthy eating patterns, keto is truly life changing.”

Most recently, the keto diet also gained the attention of health officials in the United States. They will be updating national dietary guidelines in 2020 to include low carb diets like keto.

Are there any drawbacks that stay behind the scenes?

There are potential issues with any diet or lifestyle that are less popularized on social media. Keto can cause some complications in people who have type 1 diabetes. It’s also not recommended for individuals with eating disorders, unless advised by their Doctor. However, the Keto Diet can benefit women with Hormonal issues, including Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

With keto, the primary concern is one of education. “Before they take on this diet, it’s imperative that people understand exactly how keto works,” said Dr. Berg. “They must learn how to maintain a healthy diet within the plan that meets their nutritional needs. Any healthy diet plan will include exercise, eating the right amount of food and making other lifestyle changes. Many of the negative outcomes people attribute to keto are actually a result of misunderstanding the principles of the diet itself.”

The ketogenic diet represents a shift from decades of traditional dietary advice. So many people are regaining their health, maintaining healthy weight and getting relief from chronic health problems. It’s clear that this is no longer a fad diet and it’s finally getting the attention it deserves.

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