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The Mediterranean diet is not only good for people’s health and wellbeing, but it can also lead to long term weight loss. Dr Poole explained how the diet can help slimmers maintain their ideal weight long after shedding the pounds.
Dr Poole told Express.co.uk about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, saying: “What the Mediterranean diet does is helps you gradually go towards a normal weight – but gently.
“But what it also does, at the same time, is protects you from stroke, heart disease, certain types of cancer, and inflammatory conditions.
“And there is even some research which says that it’s associated with lower risks of Alzheimer’s and other forms of Dementia.
“So, it really is a recipe for wellness over and above just a diet that will help you to lose weight or get to a normal weight.
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“And that, for me as a doctor, is the absolute key.”
Dr Poole noted that there are some diets “that will help you to lose weight, but also can potentially increase your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke”.
That is why the Mediterranean diet is different. According to the expert, it “sits beautifully in a position where it helps you to lose weight, helps you to maintain a normal weight, but also protects you from chronic diseases as you grow older”.
So, what is so special about the Mediterranean diet – and how can slimmers incorporate it into their daily routines?
The Mediterranean diet’s secret, according to Dr Poole, is that “processed foods are very limited on the diet and it’s full of low glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates, which is really good”.
“When people talk about low carb diets, what they are really talking about are low GI carbs,” the doctor explained.
The GI rates carbohydrates according to how quickly they raise the glucose level of the blood.
Low GI foods prolong digestion due to their slow breakdown, which may help people feel fuller for longer and, consequently, lose weight.Examples of low GI ingredients include soy products, beans, fruits, vegetables, milk, pasta, porridge, lentils, and, Dr Poole explained, wholegrains, such as brown bread and brown rice.
These foods are all part of the Mediterranean diet, as well as “fats, which are good fats, and, in particular, extra virgin olive oil”.
Extra virgin olive oil is a huge part of the Mediterranean diet, according to Dr Poole, and can be easily added to an individual’s diet.
The doctor explained: “Extra virgin olive oil itself, as a monosaturated fat, is not associated with weight gain.”
Dr Poole recommended putting a little extra virgin oil on carbohydrates because it “decreases their glycemic rise”.“If you have a plate of bread or pasta in the Middle East or in Italy, they wouldn’t dream of serving it without dipping it in the ubiquitous extra virgin olive oil,” he said.
Dr Poole added: “There is some evidence that that decreases the glycemic rise, decreases the sugar rise, so that you avoid those spikes and those peaks and troughs of sugar that are associated with weight gain.”
The combination of vegetables with olive oil also “increases the sensitivity to insulin, and so reduced the progress towards obesity and diabetes”.
The Mediterranean diet is one of the best diets for beginners to incorporate into their routines because “it is a really enjoyable diet”, Dr Poole said.
The expert explained: “There have been a number of studies which show that the Mediterranean diet is a diet which helps you to slowly lose weight over time, but it is much more sustained than other diets.
“And part of the reason for that is because people are much more likely to stick to it.
“I think a lot of the time, diet in the western world stands for Dare I Eat That.
“But actually, diet comes from the ancient Greek word diata, which means way of life.
“And so, the Mediterranean diet is about the food, but it’s also about the way of way of life – it’s about eating in company.
“And even if you’re with small family, at a table, without a TV, you consume fewer calories because you’re eating slowly and enjoying your food.”
Dr Poole added: “The Mediterranean diet is a diet of positive nutrition – you’re not ruling out foods so much as actually enjoying them.”
For more information on the Mediterranean diet and recipes to follow using Mediterranean ingredients, Dr Poole’s new book, The Real Mediterranean Diet, is out now online and in book stores.
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