Mediterranean Diet…Trumps the Low Fat diet, but NOT a Full House when it comes to heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

mediterranean diet

This is a link to a NY Times Article on the benefits of the Mediterranean diet as it relates to cutting the risk for heart disease.

My comment:

I chose to write about the Mediterranean diet as an eating style that is “getting there” but not a home run when it comes to the dietary changes that need to be made if we are to win the war on obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Yes, the Med diet is a major improvement over the low calorie, low fat diet rhetoric that is at the root of our obesity and diabetes epidemics. But No, the Mediterranean diet is not the solution for these epidemcs. Based on the millions of Americans locked into obesity, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, many cancers….we had better come up with the answer; and fast.

Take just a moment to learn about your diet as it applies to metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is VERY common in the US and around the world. It is a compilation of illnesses rooted in insulin imbalance. Obesity and overweight, hypertension, high cholesterol/triglycerides, blood sugar elevations are all part of the metabolic syndrome and at the root of all these illness is INSULIN.

Most people relate insulin to diabetes…but insulin, one of the most potent hormones in the human body, is at the based of most of our health woes. There is one major nutrient class that is intimately related to the release of the hormone insulin; CARBOHYDRATE. Carbohydrate converts 100% to blood sugar. When blood sugar rises, the pancreas is stimulated to release the fat gain hormone insulin.

More than 60% of people have the genetic predisposition to release excess insulin. The majority of people who struggle with weight and weight related illness over-release this fat gain hormone when blood sugar rises. Blood sugar rises around the clock; from the carbs we eat and from the liver when it releases glycogen between meals and during the night while we sleep. When the millions with insulin imbalance experience a normal rise in blood sugar, they over-release insulin and gain excess fat on their body (belly fat, back fat, unhealthy apple shape), as well as in their blood (LDL cholesterol and triglycerides).

Over time, even as they consume what the AMA and AND (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) consider normal and healthful carb consumption…55% or greater carb intake…millions will get fatter and sicker. Following a low fat diet, with a necessarily HIGHER percentage of carbohydrate grams will result in even higher incidence of health issues.

And so…The Mediterranean diet. What every explanation of a Mediterranean diet fails to address is that a true Mediterranean’s intake involves quite a bit of carb in the form of pasta (Italy), bread products, rice (Spain), fruits, as well as desserts/fruit ices/pastries.

The “Med diet” focuses on: consuming fish three times/week, light meats instead of replacing red meats, liberal intake of veggies and fruit, legumes (dry beans like lentils, chick peas, lima beans) 3 times/week, red wine, and lots of olive oil. Notice that there is no mention of pasta, rice, bread, bread products, milk, yogurt. And these foods are consumed in the Mediterranean.

The Mediterranean diet is very much an improvement over the low fat catastrophe. A low fat diet is necessarily high in carbohydrates like fruit, potatoes, whole grains, enriched white flour, pasta, rice, legumes, yogurt, milk, and can include fat free ice cream, cookies, cakes, pies…and on and on.

So yes, when you put the “Mediterranean diet” next to the low fat diet…the Mediterranean diet is an improvement based on its lower carb content.

But…why stop there? Why stop with an improvement when we can cut to the chase and control insulin imbalance with a few more tweaks?

The truth: What is needed today….not tomorrow, but today….is a very clear two step program for the millions of people who unknowingly live their lives with the genes for metabolic syndrome.

First: Let’s inform the public about this alternate metabolism. Diagnosis is very easy and is clearly defined by fasting glucose, lipid panel, Vitamin D level, and personal symptoms.
Once these millions realize they have Metabolism B….they NEED to rehab their metabolism.

Step 1: 8 weeks of a lower carb diet to rest the pancreas’ insulin release
Step 2: Very methodical re-introduction of carbohydrate with 3 principles:
The amount of carbohydrate (known as glycemic load)
The type of carbohydrate (glycemic index)
Timing of carbohydrate (no more than 5 hour intervals)

Once labwork and weight are back to normal with little or no medication for blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, depression, Vitamin D…..Step 3 is an actual BALANCED DIET with equal parts healthy carb, lean protein, heart healthy fat, liberal veggies (something very close to the Mediterranean diet).

The problem is: You can’t go from a country of over-insulin producers to a Mediterranean lifestyle and expect miracles in health. There are intermediate rest and rehab Steps that must bridge the gap between carb overload and a healthy balanced lifestyle. Without the intermediary Steps, there will be no long term weight loss or improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar.

Start today: Learn more about the Full House at The actual program is complete in these two books: The Metabolism Miracle or The Diabetes Miracle by Diane Kress
There’s also an Interactive support website:

You can’t get from Point 1 (obesity, weight related health problems) to Point 3 (normal, healthy weight and overall well-being) without connecting the dots with Point 2 (The Metabolism Miracle)


About Diane Kress

Author of The New York Times Bestseller; The Metabolism Miracle, The Metabolism Miracle Cookbook, and The Diabetes Miracle. and The Metabolism Miracle, Revised Edition. Owner, developer, and administrator of The Metabolism Miracle's support site: Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, Email:
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