Weight Loss Expert Makes Bite Size Case For ‘Healthiest Diet In World’
Updated August 14th 2023
A weight loss surgeon has outlined the three key reasons he believes following The Mediterranean Diet is good for your health.
- Top Surgeon’s Three Key Reasons To Follow Mediterranean Diet
- The Mediterranean Diet Is The Healthiest Diet On The Planet
- Why Does Mediterranean Diet Top Wellness Charts Year After Year?
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil and The Mediterranean Diet For Wellness
- U.S. News Best Diet Rankings
- Harvard Medical School Food Pyramid
Dr Terry Simpson (@drterrysimpson on TikTok) is a weight loss surgeon and culinary expert has shared his knowledge of the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, debunking some common myths around it.
Top Surgeon’s Three Key Reasons To Follow Mediterranean Diet
As reported on msn.com, Dr Terry said:
“One of the most common misconceptions about the Mediterranean diet is that it represents the current diet of people who live in the Mediterranean. Wrong!
“The classic healthy and veggie-focused Mediterranean diet that we know and love is actually based on what people in Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Italy, France and Spain ate in the mid to early 1900s. This diet was created based on studies done on people living during that time who lived the longest and were the healthiest. This is how they ate!
“People also assume the Mediterranean diet is a low-fat meal plan, but that is not the case. This diet is full of healthy fats, making fats actually about 30% of the total intake. This includes foods like extra virgin olive oil and yogurt.
The Mediterranean Diet Is The Healthiest Diet On The Planet
The Mediterranean diet is also, as Dr. Terry says, the healthiest diet on the planet. Eating within these specific guidelines decreases your risks of inflammation, decreased risk of cancer, and decreased risk of heart disease.
On his own website, Dr Simpson referenced a recent study which outlined huge benefits to those who followed the Mediterranean Diet, summarising as such:
In a large study of over 22,000 Greek participants research showed huge benefits to those who followed the Mediterranean diet. In fact, they have come up with a score for this diet, and the more you follow it there is a large reduction in risk. For each of the nine categories there is a score of 0 or 1. If you improve your lifestyle score by just two points, say from 5 to 7, you have a 25% reduction in death from all causes. (NEJM 348;26: 2599-2608. Adherence to a Mediterranean Diet and Survival in a Greek Population, Trichopoulou, et al.)
The nine categories are:
- Fruits and Nuts
- Whole Grains
- Oils (specifically unsaturated oils such as Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
- Less than 4 ounces per day of Red Meat. Avoiding Processed Meats.
1-2 Alcoholic Drinks per day maximum.
Why Does Mediterranean Diet Top Wellness Charts Year After Year?
The Mediterranean Diet has topped the list of the U.S. News and World Report Annual Ranking Of Diets for the fifth year in a row.
The ever-popular diet, with its emphasis on quality extra virgin olive oil, fresh fruit, vegetables and fish continues to out rank its rivals on this key barometer for wellness and nutrition. It was named best diet overall for 2022, in addition to best diet for healthy eating, best heart-healthy diet, best diet for diabetes, best plant-based diet and easiest diet to follow. That’s a lot of wins!
Speaking to Good Morning America, managing editor of U.S. News and World Report said: “There’s no real surprise why that is […] It’s healthy. It’s delicious. It’s nutritious, and it’s really easy to follow.” The Mediterranean Diet is followed in the list by other popular dietary choices near the top of the hit parade: namely DASH, Flexitarian, MIND, TLC, Mayo Clinic, WW and Volumetrics.
U.S. News and World Report described the Mediterranean diet a “well-balanced eating plan” referencing research that suggests it could help prevent some chronic diseases and increases longevity.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil and The Mediterranean Diet For Wellness
It is generally accepted that the folks in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea live longer and suffer less than most Americans from cancer and cardiovascular ailments. The not-so-surprising secret is an active lifestyle, weight control, and a diet low in red meat, sugar and saturated fat and high in produce, nuts and other healthful foods, with extra virgin olive oil at its heart.
The Mediterranean Diet including extra virgin olive oil offers a host of health benefits, particularly including weight loss, heart and brain health, cancer prevention, and diabetes prevention and control. By following the Mediterranean Diet, you could also keep that weight off while avoiding chronic disease.
There is not a single Mediterranean diet. Greeks eat differently from Italians, who eat differently from the French and Spanish. But they share many of the same principles and all include extra virgin olive oil as a key constituent.
U.S. News Best Diet Rankings
A recent review of 35 diets by U.S. News’ with inputs from a panel of health experts ranked the Mediterranean Diet #1 in Best Diets Overall.
- Best Diets Overall
Best Plant-Based Diets
Best Diabetes Diets
Best Diets for Healthy Eating
Easiest Diets to Follow
- Best Heart-Healthy Diets
You can see how all of these diets were ranked here.
Harvard Medical School Food Pyramid
The Harvard Pyramid is based on the Mediterranean diet. Its structure came from the diets of the inhabitants of Crete and Southern Italy in the 1960’s. The study was presented in 1993 by Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health at the International Conference on the Mediterranean Diet held in Cambridge Massachusetts. Note that olive oil is one of the basic components. This pyramid has enjoyed decades of increasing acceptance.
According to the Harvard Medical School Food Pyramid, the total amount of fat you eat, whether high or low, is not really linked with disease. What really matters is the type of fat you eat. The “bad” fats, saturated and trans fats, increase the risk for certain diseases. The “good” fats, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats like those contained in extra virgin olive oil lower disease risk. The key to a healthy diet is to substitute good fats for bad fats, and to avoid trans fats.
Olive Oil And The Mediterranean Diet
Olive oil is an integral part of the Mediterranean diet. The people will eat slower and in a more enjoyable eating. People who eat a Mediterranean diet have a variety of health benefits. The olive oil in the Mediterranean diet can quickly satisfy hunger and lead to fewer total calories ingested at mealtime. It is unclear if any single component of this diet is responsible for these health benefits or if it is a combination of olive oil and a diet high in vegetables, fruit and fish.
Extra virgin olive oil has no chemical processing. (Nearly every other vegetable oil has been detoxified and refined with steam and solvents). Fresh pressed extra virgin olive oil can be eaten immediately and retains the natural flavours, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other healthy products of the ripe olive fruit.
The village of Pioppi, Italy became notorious as the home of the Mediterranean diet. As the villagers have no supermarket, their diet consists largely of vegetables, olive oil and fish. They also eat cheese, but other dairy products aren’t available. Pasta and bread eaten in small quantities. In addition to sugar, their diet is low in meat and refined carbohydrates. Many of its residents live past the age of 100.
Picture what it would be like to enjoy one’s golden years without dementia or type 2 diabetes, maladies that are an integral part of aging in the rest of the world. After hearing about Pioppi, cardiologist Aseem Malhotra became fascinated with discovering what diet kept the residents so healthy and what lessons could be learned from them.
After studying the village, Malhotra developed a formula for optimal health. For starters, the Pioppians have a very low sugar intake, eating it only once per week. It is this dietary practice that the doctor considers essential for their good health. He contends that western society’s fear of fat is to blame for the high consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates. Malhotra attributes these foods as the cause of the widespread incidence of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Other lifestyle practices aside from a healthful diet play a role. The villagers get seven hours of sleep per night and experience freedom from much stress. Although it isn’t intentional, intermittent fasting is a natural part of their lives. They don’t engage in exercise per se, but they’re very active.
Furthermore, included as a top recommendations for vibrant health and longevity based on the Pioppians Malhotra advised:
Extra virgin olive oil is medicine – take extra virgin olive oil every day