The Mediterranean Diet Plan: No Calorie Counting or Banned Foods

The Mediterranean Diet
Want a diet where no food is banned and there are no calorie counts? It sounds unbelievable, but the Mediterranean diet, which is based on the eating style of those along the Mediterranean coast, does just that. This diet has even been recommended for diabetics and people with gluten allergies, although they may end up modifying it slightly. How can a diet that doesn’t limit the types of foods allowed and refuses to count calories work to help people lose weight?
Mediterranean Diet Map

Map of countries associated with the Mediterranean Diet.

The Mediterranean diet mimics the food choices of people who live in countries like Greece and off the coast of France who have a low incidence of heart disease and diabetes in their population and who also tend to be slender. The diet provides the ideal model for a meal, without necessarily excluding any one food or making you eat smaller portions.

Eat More of This, Less of That

Eating a Mediterranean diet doesn’t mean you get to eat as much baklava as you want. Eating Greek dishes is one way to mimic the diet, but there is no particular style of cooking associated with theĀ Mediterranean diet. Instead, food choices are provided in a pyramid that tells you what foods you should eat more of and which should be eaten less in your diet.

First Step of the Pyramid

The first step of the pyramid, above the base, tells you that fruits, vegetables, and grains should make up the biggest category of foods in your daily meals. However, if you are gluten-intolerant, you might want to substitute other grains for wheat which can trigger sensitivities. Whereas some diets may limit some types of fruits for diabetics, the Mediterranean diet does not make that distinction.

Second Step of the Pyramid

The second step of the pyramid is based on fish and seafood as the protein building block of your diet. Red meat is not excluded, but it is further up the pyramid and taught to be used only sparingly. Probiotic sources like yogurt, hard cheeses, and eggs are also favored for inclusion in the diet in moderate amounts. Meats and sweets make up the capstone as they are used only as accents, not main courses. You can even indulge in wine with this diet, as the meal plan calls for wine daily.

Eat Until You’re Full

If you follow the meal plan, it’s not likely you can gain a lot of weight, even eating a large amounts of fruits, vegetables, and seafood. Therefore, portions are not controlled. That doesn’t mean a dieter can’t calorie count, but the Mediterranean diet is set up so that you don’t have to count. Some dieters will count calories because they want to lose weight more rapidly on the Mediterranean diet and so make a restrictive calorie meal plan. However, it’s not necessary, because there is one final ingredient in the Mediterranean diet that other diets don’t specify:


Exercise: The Base of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

Mediterranean people lead active lives as coastal people. Thus, the Mediterranean diet includes exercise as a normal part of the diet. There is no set prescription for how much to exercise, but 20 minutes a day can offer lasting benefits for people who are dieting. Exercise can increase the metabolism, helping to shed fat faster.

Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

In addition, the Mediterranean diet suggests that all meals be eaten in a communal setting because they believe that eating with others makes people slow down when they’re eating and aids digestion. If you have had trouble with other diets because they were too restrictive and or hated counting calories, this is one diet plan that is super easy to follow, even if you are diabetic or have other health issues.

Stephen Ralph

Bestselling Mediterranean Diet Cookbooks

Stephen Ralph
Stephen is the Founder of Health Haxor, an active duty USAF service member, online entrepreneur and fitness buff. In between a busy schedule Stephen is an active contributor to Health Haxor and regularly posts articles related to men's health, fitness and nutrition.
Stephen Ralph
- 8 years ago
Stephen Ralph