3. How is the Advanced Mediterranean Diet an improvement over the traditional Mediterranean diet?
Other than the general description of the traditional Mediterranean diet in FAQ #1, there was no monolithic Mediterranean diet common to the entirety of the region in the mid-20th century. Local populations tended to eat what was readily available to them based on agricultural customs, local natural resources, and availability of transportation. For example, populations closer to the sea tended to eat more seafood, inland people ate less.
Scientific breakthroughs, mostly over the last decade, have allowed me to fine-tune the traditional Mediterranean diet, leading to greater improvements in health and longevity. How does my "advanced" program improve the Mediterranean diet? In two major ways. First off, the Advanced Mediterranean Diet is geared towards weight loss, not just health and longevity. Secondly, the Advanced Diet is quite specific compared to the general guidelines of the traditional Mediterranean diet. Following the Advanced Mediterranean Diet will ensure that you get the optimal amount of various foods that have been clearly associated with lower rates of disease and improved longevity.
How much fish? Two servings per week, to prevent sudden death and heart attacks. What kind of fish? Cold-water fatty fish (albacore tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, sea bass, swordfish, herring, ahchovies, halibut, pampano). Many of these fish were not available to the Mediterraneans of the mid-20th century. How many nuts? Three to five 1-ounce servings per week. How much olive oil? Aim for a minimum of seven to 14 tablespoons weekly. How much fruits and vegetables? At least 5 servings daily, to reduce risk of cancer, heart attacks, and stroke. How much wine, for those who carefully weigh the risks and choose to drink? No more than one glass (4-5 ounces) daily for women and two glasses for men, to prolong lifespan and reduce coronary artery disease and dementia. How much whole grains? Two servings daily, to reduce risk of coronary artery disease (heart attacks). The traditional Mediterranean diet was generally high-fiber but how much fiber do we need? Twenty-five to 30 grams daily, to prevent diverticulosis, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and hemorrhoids.
The Advanced Diet encourages usage of heart-protective omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in vegetable oils, espcially flaxseed, canola, and soybean oils. These were not significant contributors to the traditional diet.
The traditional Mediterraneans had physically active lifestyles that contributed to lower rates of disease and longer lifespans. But how much activity? Thirty minutes of brisk walking on most days of the week, for example, will win you the bulk of the health benefits.
Undoubtedly, we will all either die suddenly or develop diseases and then die. You can eat all the right things and exercise vigorously an hour daily, and still get run over by a truck tomorrow. Or you can play the odds, make some of the aforementioned changes in diet and lifestyle, and thereby forestall disease and death. It's your choice.
All matters regarding your health require supervision by a personal physician or other appropriate health professional familiar with your current health status. Always consult your personal physician before making any dietary or exercise changes.