The Mediterranean Diet: A Nutrient-Packed Plan for Health and Longevity

The Mediterranean diet

The diet gets its name from the eating habits of people living in Mediterranean countries and has been linked to better health and longevity. The Mediterranean Diet meal plan is high in fruits and vegetables, as well as healthy fatty foods like fish, nuts and olive oil.

Dash diet

This is a diet that was designed to help people lower their high blood pressure, and it's characterized by a mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy.

People on this diet are told to avoid saturated fat, sugary beverages, sweets, full-fat dairy and some oils and to eat less salt overall.

Weight watchers

Weight Watchers is an especially popular diet, promoted by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey. It works on a points system, where each food is given a number of points, and people are told a total number to aim for each day. Foods that are high in nutrients and are filling have fewer points overall.

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Sweets, on the other hand, are high in points.

The crash diet

This is a weight-loss diet undertaken with the aim of achieving very rapid results. A crash diet is essentially a very restrictive meal plan that's unsustainable for the long term. It's usually about severely restricting your calories, like cutting back to 1,000 or even as low as 500 calories per day. Sometimes a crash diet is all about a juice cleanse or just eating one or two foods for a week. The length of time differs from diet to diet, but they always come with an end date.

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Crash diets can actually wreak havoc on your body. When you limit calories so dramatically, your body goes into starvation mode and your metabolic rate rapidly drop. Your body isn't sure when it's going to get fed again, so it does everything it can to conserve energy. So not only are you burning fewer calories doing normal activities (like digesting, standing, walking), but you're also just moving less because you have less energy. If you're being very restrictive with calories, you're not just burning your fat as fuel. You're going to burn lean tissue, as well, which is mostly muscle. In the first few weeks of your crash diet, about half of the fuel you're burning comes from fat stores, while the other half comes from lean tissue mass that is your biceps.

A five day meal plan for a crash diet


  • Breakfast - A glass of soy milk
  • Lunch - Chicken soup made with lot of veggies, vegans can opt for mushroom soup.
  • Post lunch - One orange
  • Dinner - Tomato, lettuce and zucchini salad


  • Breakfast - Green tea and one apple
  • Lunch - Two glasses of watermelon juice
  • Post-  lunch One banana
  • Dinner - Tomato and cilantro salad


  • Breakfast - Scrambled egg with one brown toasted bread
  • Lunch - Cabbage soup
  • Post lunch - Yogurt
  • Dinner - Orange juice and four almonds


  • Breakfast - Kiwi and watermelon juice with a dash of lime
  • Lunch - Mushroom clear soup
  • Post lunch - Grapefruit juice
  • Dinner - Cucumber, tomato and yoghurt salad


  • Breakfast - Honey and lemon detox drink and one orange
  • Lunch - Boiled lentil with baked veggies such as carrot and beetroot
  • Post lunch - Tomato juice
  • Dinner - Baked fish

Reasons for using the crash diet

People end up following a crash diet because it helps in weight reduction in a very short period. It gives an amazing result to sheds pounds of weight in a week, and they are generally affordable as it needs very little food, hence it is suitable for even someone who earns less income. These diets instantly reduce calorie consumption and help the body to burn its own fat for calories instead of depending on outside food source, so it provides better shape to obese or overweight easily. These diets are meant for a short period of time i.e. for one or two weeks, so there is no need to follow for a prolonged period of time like other modified diets. It is good for some medical complications which need calorie restricted diets, such as high blood pressure, hypertension as well as heart diseases.

Health risks associated with the crash diet

It can reduce your metabolic rate

A high metabolism is key to losing weight, but crash dieting can actually make your metabolic rate lower. "Muscle breakdown is much greater with extreme dieting, rather than a steady prolonged approach. Less muscle reduces your metabolic rate, which is the number of calories you burn while resting and can ultimately result in weight gain later on," explains the doctor.

It can weaken your immune system

"By depriving yourself of essential minerals and vitamins you risk weakening your immune system. And we all know that a low immune system makes getting ill far more likely - not what you want while you're away on holiday. "If you cut out all fatty foods from your diet, absorbing fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K may prove problematic," the doctor explains. "These vitamins are necessary as they help to support your immune system, so lacking in them could cause future issues."

It can cause ketone production

With a very low carbohydrate diet, your body may start to break down fatty acids to produce ketones (chemicals made in your liver. You produce them when you don't have enough insulin in your body to turn sugar (or glucose) into energy. You need another source, so your body uses fat instead. Your liver turns this fat into ketones, a type of acid, and sends them into your bloodstream). This might cause you to drop a few pounds, but it's also got some damaging side effects too, including, nausea, bad breath and liver or kidney problems.

It can cause dehydration

Some diets, like juicing, lead to such quick weight loss, which leads to losing water weight - but that's not ideal for longer-term weight loss. Glycogen stores, which are a source of energy that binds water, are depleted faster than the fat cells releasing the water. So, when you start eating again, your body will replenish glycogen and water store and weight gain follows. You run the risk of dehydration as a result, which can manifest with a headache and dizziness.

A gallbladder attack

A gallbladder attack can be painful. When it's functioning normally, a gallbladder is there to produce digestive juices that help digest fatty foods. But if your food intake decreases, your gallbladder can no longer release juices, thus leading to a clogged gallbladder and may need medical attention.

Foods to be avoided when following a crash diet

French Fries and Potato Chips

Whole potatoes are healthy and filling, but french fries and potato chips are not. They are very high in calories, and it's easy to eat way too many of them.

Sugary Drinks

Sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda, are one of the unhealthiest foods and they are strongly associated with weight gain. Liquid sugar calories don't make you feel full, and you won't eat less food to compensate. Instead, you end up adding these calories on top of your normal intake.

White Bread

White bread is highly refined and often contains a lot of added sugar and it is high on the glycemic index and can spike your blood sugar levels.

Candy Bars

Candy bars are extremely unhealthy because they are packed with a lot of added sugar, added oils and refined flour into a small package, furthermore candy bars are high in calories and low in nutrients. If you are craving a snack, eat a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts instead.

Most Fruit Juices

Most fruit juices you find at the supermarket have very little in common with whole fruit. Fruit juices are highly processed and loaded with sugar. In fact, they can contain just as much sugar and calories as soda, if not more .Also, fruit juice usually has no fibre and doesn't require chewing. This means that a glass of orange juice won't have the same effects on fullness as an orange, making it easy to consume large quantities in a short amount of time .Stay away from fruit juice and eat whole fruit instead. Fruit juice is high in calories and added sugar, but usually contains no fiber. It is best to stick to whole fruit.

Pastries, Cookies and Cakes

Pastries, cookies and cakes often contain large amounts of added sugar, refined flour and sometimes trans-fat, which make them high in calories but not very filling.

Ice Cream

Store-bought ice cream is high in sugar, and homemade ice cream is a better alternative. Consider making your own ice cream, using less sugar and healthier ingredients like full-fat yogurt and fruit. Also, serve yourself a small portion and put the ice cream away so that you won't end up eating too much.


Pizza is a very popular fast food. However, it is extremely high in calories and often contain unhealthy ingredients like highly refined flour and processed meat. If you want to enjoy a slice of pizza, try making one at home using healthier ingredients. Homemade pizza sauce is also healthier, since supermarket varieties can contain lots of sugar.

High-Calorie Coffee Drinks

Coffee contains several biologically active substances, such as caffeine. These chemicals can boost your metabolism and increase fat burning, at least in the short term. However, the negative effects of adding unhealthy ingredients like artificial cream and sugar outweigh these positive effects. High-calorie coffee drinks are actually no better than soda. They're loaded with empty calories that can equal a whole meal. If you like coffee, it's best to stick to plain, black coffee when trying to lose weight. Adding a little cream or milk is fine too. Just avoid adding sugar, high-calorie creamers and other unhealthy ingredients.

Foods High in Added Sugar

Added sugar is probably the worst thing in the modern diet. Excess amounts have been linked to some of the most serious diseases in the world today (25, 26, 27). Foods high in added sugar usually provide tons of empty calories, but are not very filling. Examples of foods that may contain massive amounts of added sugar include sugary breakfast cereals, granola bars and low-fat, flavoured yogurt. You should be especially careful when selecting "low-fat" or "fat-free" foods, as manufacturers often add lots of sugar to make up for the flavour that's lost when the fat is removed.

Advice on food items when dining out

The person should take at least 4 to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, at least two high-fibre fruits, two bowls of green veggies and three bowls of salad in a day.

Updated: Mar 22, 2023
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The Mediterranean Diet: A Nutrient-Packed Plan for Health and Longevity. (2019, Nov 15). Retrieved from

The Mediterranean Diet: A Nutrient-Packed Plan for Health and Longevity essay
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