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Mediterranean Diet Doesn't Make It -Roger Mason

There has been a lot of attention on the Mediterranean diet. You’ll see endless books on this by authors such as Perricone, Ozner, Jenkins, and Parker. They promise you can be slim and healthy by eating this way. Actually, there are 16 countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. Greece and Southern Italy are usually the models here. You’ll notice Mediterranean people are generally not known for being either slim nor healthy. This is NOT a good regimen for a lot of reasons. It's just less worse than the typical American diet. People who eat this way really aren’t healthier than Americans, merely just less sickly. They still have high rates of the major diseases compared to rural Asians in general. The people who propose this recommend white bread, white pasta, lots of tomatoes, cheese and dairy products, meat, poultry, eggs, red wine, and endless olive oil. There are just too many problems with this diet, and no way to fix them. The Asian diet is the best if you just use whole grains. Rural Asians are the healthiest people in the world overall. They generally eat rice, vegetables, and seafood as their staples. Urban Asians generally imitate the Western diet.

If you study the disease rates of southern Asians in general (Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnam) compared to Southern Italians and Greeks, you’ll see the Asians have far less coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancers of various types, and other major illnesses. They are also much slimmer.

Even if you use whole grain bread and whole grain pasta you still have a lot of issues with the Mediterranean diet. What do you put on your pasta besides tomatoes? Rice is a Northern Italian dish, so you would need to add brown rice. You’ll notice the Mediterranean promoters rarely even stress whole grain pastas and whole grain breads, much less brown rice.

Nightshade vegetables are used liberally including tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Tomatoes are an indispensable staple here. They are toxic nightshade vegetables (actually they are botanically classed as fruits) that contain both harmful solanine and tomatine. Tomatoes were never meant to be eaten by man or beast. Most cultures do not include them in their diets. One hundred years ago tomatoes were rarely eaten in America. They were imported from the tropics, and considered inedible ornamental  plants. Only recently have they become popular.

Diary products are a major part of this, especially various cheeses. Cheese is an indispensable staple here. Even if you substituted soy (or almond) vegetarian cheese you would get too much fat. Cheese has casein, but does not have lactose (this is removed in the whey). Cheese has high a-mounts of animal proteins, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Milk and yogurt are also used, which are full of lactose and casein.

Yes, there is less saturated animal fat than the typical American diet. That’s because we swill down 42% fat calories, almost all of them saturated artery-clogging animal fats. Olive oil must be limited like all oils. The point is to reduce your total fat intake of all oils to 20% or less. Yes, vegetable oils are less harmful than animal fats, but still need to be severely limited. The Mediterranean proponents usually tell you to eat all the olive oil you want, because it is monosatuated and “good for you.” Baloney. All fat calories must be limited to less than 20% of your diet.

Beef, pork, poultry, are eggs are central to Mediterranean eating, but in smaller amounts than what Americans generally eat. Again, this just makes it less worse, rather than actually a healthy way to eat. Nuts are an important part of this diet, but nuts are 90% fat calories and should only be used as a garnish in moderation, not a food. Nuts are a wonderful garnish, but far too high in fat to be used in any amount. Red wine is always included, but can certainly be omitted. Health claims are made for wine! Obviously alcohol is something to be avoided as much as possible.

All in all, the Mediterranean diet fails. It is simply less worse than the American diet. Read my book Macrobiotics for Everyone. Whole grains, beans, most all vegetables, local fruits, seafood (optional), soups, and salads are the best way on earth to be as healthy as possible and to live as long as possible.

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