Differences between Mediterranean and Traditional Diet

The Mediterranean diet has a slightly different food arrangement than the traditional one.

In the traditional diet, carbohydrate consumption is 5 to 9 servings daily, whereas in the Mediterranean diet, consumption is not limited. However, its intake is made in a conscious and balanced way, being better divided during meals. The consumption of fruits and vegetables is recommended in both diets, as these are sources of vitamins and nutrients. The ideal consumption is in natural (raw) form, but if you want to make them cooked, the ideal is to be steamed, as this way more nutrients and vitamins are preserved while enhancing the natural flavor of these foods. 

Another difference in weight between the Mediterranean diet and the traditional diet is the consumption of fats, such as olive oil. In the Mediterranean diet its consumption is daily and can be used even in recipes that are part of breakfast. In the case of the traditional diet its consumption is avoided, as it is considered a villain of cholesterol. 

Note: it is important to note that although the Mediterranean diet includes the use of olive oil in almost all meals, its use is controlled and its calories included in the calculation of the determined meal, that is, if a tablespoon of oil has 100 kcal and your meal it should be around 300 kcal, assuming a bruschetta that has olive oil as one of its ingredients, the sum of the others cannot exceed 200 kcal. 

In the traditional diet the consumption of meat, chicken and fish is regular, being consumed more often than in the Mediterranean diet, which prefer fish in small weekly portions. Seafood is also included in the Mediterranean diet, while in common diets its consumption is more sporadic. 

Sweets are different in both diets. In the case of the Mediterranean diet, sweets are sweetened with honey instead of traditional sugars, whether refined, demerara or brown. In traditional diets, we opted for refined sugar, something that is changing over time, given that people have been paying more attention to their health and cutting certain foods considered harmful to health such as sugar. An interesting thing about sweets from Mediterranean countries is that they tend to be more salty, having a mixture of cereals, nuts, almonds and dried fruits. Brazilian sweets, for example, tend to have a higher concentration of sugar, such as chocolates, cakes and pies.

Another important difference found in the Mediterranean diet compared to the traditional diet is the consumption of wine with meals. For the people of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, wine is not only present during meals, but is part of them. Its consumption is moderate, but it is frequent. In the traditional diet, alcohol intake is moderate and not included in meals, in addition, of course, exceptions to events and special dates.

As we can see in these two types of diets, there are considerable differences between them, the traditional food pyramid is based on carbohydrates, such as bread, rice, cereals, pasta and roots, while in the Mediterranean diet food pyramid the base of the pyramid is practice of physical exercises. It is on this basis that the whole diet is built, which is why it is considered one of the healthiest in the world today.

What you can eat Food guidelines are divided on a daily, weekly and occasional basis. Below we will see what you can eat and how often it is according to your specific group. 

  • Throughout the day: water, infusions, broths; 
  • In daily meals: cereals, vegetables, fruits, vegetables, olive oil; 
  • Daily: spices, herbs, garlic, onions, olives, dry and fatty fruits, seeds, dairy products, wine; 
  • Weekly: fish, white meat, eggs, legumes; 
  • Occasionally: red meats, processed meats, potatoes; 
  • Weekly on special occasions: sweets.

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