#1 Diet? All you need to know about the Mediterranean Diet

U.S. News & World Report released its rankings of the Best Diets for 2021 and the Mediterranean Diet has topped the list once again for the fourth consecutive year in a row. In their report, they rank 39 different diet plans with the Mediterranean Diet and DASH diet topping the list and the Keto Diet and Dukan Diet ranking the lowest.

The Mediterranean Diet also topped the list in five other lists including: Best Diets for Healthy EatingEasiest Diets to FollowBest Diets for DiabetesBest Plant Based Diets, and Best Heart Healthy Diet. Research suggests that the Mediterranean Diet offers a host of health benefits and may help with weight loss, heart and brain health, diabetes prevention and control, and prevention of cancer.

U.S. News and World Report replies on a panel of experts including the nation’s top nutritionists and specialists in diabetes, heart health, and weight loss to develop this list. While many Americans are dealing with the health and emotional impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and making resolutions for the New Year, it is timely that this report has highlighted a scientifically-backed diet plan that is easy to follow, helpful in the management of different diseases, and has been proven to help with weight loss and management.

The Mediterranean Diet has long been promoted for good health, decreased risk for disease, and possibly a longer life. The Mediterranean Diet is based on the eating patterns and traditional cuisines of the regions along the Mediterranean Sea. It centers around plant-based foods with bright, colorful, and flavorful dishes. The main foods enjoyed on the Mediterranean Diet include whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, fish, and healthy sources of fat, which anyone that has been on Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating plan will tell you sounds a lot like our healthy meal plans.

The benefits of the Mediterranean Diet are many and include:

  • Promoting a healthy weight
  • Reducing the risk of heart disease
  • Improving high blood pressure
  • Decreasing the incidence of asthma
  • Reducing the risk of several chronic diseases including cancer, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and type 2 diabetes
  • Improving blood sugar management
  • Fostering a better mood
  • Lowering death rates

The Mediterranean Diet has been recognized by the World Health Organization as a healthy and sustainable diet pattern. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans has also outlined the Mediterranean diet as one of their healthy eating plans. This diet was also recognized in the American Diabetes Association's updated Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes in 2019 as a healthy choice.

The traditional Mediterranean Diet is high in heart-healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamin C, dietary fiber, and other vitamins and minerals. Interestingly, the amount of fat in the Mediterranean Diet is similar to the total amount in the traditional American diet, however, the emphasis in the Mediterranean diet is on healthy sources of fat such as olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, and seafood.

So how does Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating’s meal plans compare to the #1 diet? Let's look at all the similarities between the Mediterranean Diet and Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating meal plans.

Mediterranean Diet Vs. Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating

Mediterranean Diet Principle #1: Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.

SSHE: We provide fresh fruits and vegetables in every meal plan. We are one of the only meal delivery programs that will send you a fresh salad or a whole piece of fruit. With a focus on adding color and fresh ingredients in every meal, we strive to include a variety of produce every day!

Mediterranean Diet Principle #2: Opt for whole grains.

SSHE: We follow the guidelines set forth by national organizations with making at least half of our grains whole grains. Our meals feature brown rice, farro, barley, whole-wheat couscous, oats, and other whole grains. With the benefits of added fiber and increased nutrition, whole grains are a no-brainer on our meal plans.

Mediterranean Diet Principle #3: Use healthy fats.

SSHE: To reap heart health benefits, we include good fats in our meals such as avocado, nuts and seeds, olives, and more. We eliminate high-fat meats from all of our meal plans to reduce saturated fat in our meals and include no fried foods.

Mediterranean Diet Principle #4: Eat more seafood.

SSHE: The Mediterranean diet recommends eating seafood twice a week and guess how many servings of fish you get on Seattle Sutton's per week…that's right, 2! We include a variety of tuna, tilapia, cod, and salmon weekly on our traditional meal plans to provide healthy omega-3 fatty acids to support your heart and brain health.

Mediterranean Diet Principle #5: Reduce red meat.

SSHE: We do not include red meat or pork products in any of our meals. Our traditional meal plan includes fish, poultry, and plant-based sources of protein just as encouraged by the Mediterranean plan. Our vegetarian plan includes a variety of plant-based proteins, as well as dairy and eggs.

Mediterranean Diet Principle #6: Enjoy some dairy products.

SSHE: Yogurt and cheese are often included on the Mediterranean diet which we do include in all of our meal plans. Each meal plan includes the addition of 2-3 servings of fat-free or low-fat milk per day as well.

Mediterranean Diet Principle #6: Spice it up.

SSHE: All our meals are low in sodium and follow the guidelines from the American Heart Association. In place of salt, we add a variety of herbs and spices to add wonderful flavor and balance to our meals.

Mediterranean Diet Principle #7: Add in more vegetarian meals.

SSHE: No matter which meal plan you choose; you will get a variety of vegetarian meals every week. We feature meals that are centered around beans, whole grains, and vegetables and limit the amount of animal protein on each plan.

Mediterranean Diet Principle #8: Include fruit for dessert, and limit sweets to a rare treat.

SSHE: While we don't believe in deprivation, we do encourage balance and moderation. Fruits are included in many of our meals and we limit desserts to about once a week. Of course, the desserts we include are made with better-for-you ingredients and are portion controlled too!

The Mediterranean Diet also encourages physical activity, mindfulness, and enjoying togetherness as an overall holistic approach to health and wellness. We at Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating are proud to provide food for healthy living, not just diet food. Our plan fits well into a holistic approach to improve health.

Are you interested in following the Mediterranean diet or have you heard about the benefits of this diet pattern and would like to try it out? Let us take the guesswork and effort out of the Mediterranean Diet for you. All of our meal plans follow the basic tenets of the Mediterranean diet…so what are you waiting for?

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