Strict diets don’t work in the long run. According to the British Medical Journal, this has just been confirmed by a new analysis of studies in which the diets of over 21,000 people were examined. Many of the 14 diets tested therefore led to improved blood pressure and an average weight loss of around five kilos after six months. After a year, most of these benefits had disappeared – except for the so-called Mediterranean diet. What makes this form of nutrition stand out is explained by nutritionist Dr. med. Petra Bracht (“Clear Text Nutrition”) in an interview with the news agency spot on news.
What makes the Mediterranean diet stand out from other diets, why is this diet particularly healthy?
Dr. med. Petra Bracht: This Mediterranean food tradition developed in the regions of the European Mediterranean coasts. It was examined for the first time in the remote areas of the working rural population in Crete, which belongs to the regions of the “Blue Zones” in which the healthiest and most centenarian people in the world live. Mainly plant-based foods are eaten, such as plenty of fresh fruit, nuts, fresh vegetables, legumes, lots of spices, olive oil, enough whole grains and, in the coastal regions, fish. In contrast, meat, sausage and dairy products are used very sparingly. In addition, mostly only seasonal and regional foods are used.
How does the Mediterranean diet work?
Due to the high proportion of plant-based foods in the daily diet, it is extremely rich in all important nutrients, secondary plant substances, antioxidants and vitamins. On the other hand, this diet contains fewer calories than the normal German average diet. Not to mention the additives, sugar, too much salt, saturated fats, cholesterol, hormones, purines and AGE’s like acrylamide, which are largely responsible for the development of our lifestyle diseases.
How well is this diet suitable for people who want to lose weight?
Perfect, especially if you do without the fish, which, by the way, is practiced by many inhabitants of the Mediterranean region who have not lived directly in the coastal region. At that time, the coasts were directly avoided by many, as they were constantly exposed to attacks and raids. Then, in my opinion, it is one of the best diets to stay healthy and then permanently slim during the desired weight reduction. There is no dreaded yo-yo effect and success is guaranteed.
You can top this Mediterranean diet by completely omitting meat, sausage and dairy products, i.e. opting for the purely vegetable variant. Due to the high proportion of dietary fiber and fibers, there is no feeling of hunger. In addition, there are no nutritional deficiencies, as is the case with most diets. Due to the large selection of dishes and no restrictions, it can be performed permanently. It is also possible to vary them by adding influences from Asian cuisine, in the spirit of “Mediterrasian”.
How do you benefit from the Mediterranean diet beyond losing weight?
It is a deliciously tasting and varied and – especially if the fish is still left out – a very healthy diet with a high fiber content for a healthy microbiome (intestinal flora) and thus a guarantee for a well-functioning immune system. Because with healthy dietary fiber, which can only be found in plants, the good intestinal bacteria are nourished and the bad bacteria – which would become more numerous with the increasing proportion of animal foods – starve to death.
The large amounts of secondary plant substances, which are also not found in any animal products, are absolutely necessary to maintain health, but also to get well with existing diseases. In some cases, they work more efficiently than some drugs and without any side effects. These secondary plant substances are probably the most valuable health-makers in our diet and serve the plants to protect against sunburn, insects, bacteria and viruses. They take on exactly these functions in our body. But be careful: conventionally grown plants contain much less of it, as they are sprayed with all sorts of insecticides etc. and the plants treated in this way no longer build their own protective mechanisms. Therefore, the plant foods should ideally be from organic farming.
In terms of sourcing fresh ingredients in this country, is the type of diet suitable for the entire year?
Definitely. In the meantime, traditional supermarkets already have an offer from regional areas as well as with references to seasonality. What I’m particularly happy about is that more and more emphasis is being placed on organic farming. And if you love markets, you can get the right food here all year round.
Can people who are inexperienced in cooking get along with it?
Bracht: This kitchen does not take place at star level, but always had to work quickly and easily, fill a lot of hungry mouths and bellies and also be inexpensive. It is therefore ideally suited for everyone who wants to get started, but also for those who love cooking. Because it is honest cuisine that tastes like what is on the plate.
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In your new book “Klartext Nutrition” you promise to enlighten the food jungle, how do you manage that?
Claus Leitzmann and I bring together our knowledge of about 75 years on the subject of healthy eating. He from his scientific point of view, I from my practical experience. We have experienced the “ups” and “downs” of a wide variety of nutritional recommendations and diets, some of which are associated with significant health effects. Excessive promises, disappointments, weight gain up to the emergence of diseases, it was all there. It is not without reason that most people die of cardiovascular diseases, the majority of which (70 to 80 percent) are diet-related. Obesity is the visible result of poor diet and the onset of most diseases.
People are insecure because they have never learned what to look for in a healthy diet. Therefore, in our book “Klartext Nutrition”, we decided to create clarity and to write it in a way that is understandable for everyone. It would be our greatest wish if the subject of nutrition would finally be taught not only during medical studies, but also to all students during school time.
Information about Dr. med. Petra Bracht
Dr. med. Petra Bracht has specialized in nutrition and pain for over 30 years. Her work “Klartext Nutrition”, which she wrote together with Prof. Dr. Claus Leitzmann has just published. On Wednesday, June 3rd at 7 p.m., there will be a live reading / conversation with Petra Bracht and Claus Leitzmann on the Liebscher & Bracht YouTube channel.
(hub / spot)
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