Mediterranean vs. Okinawan Diet—Which Diet is Better?

By now you've probably come across both the Mediterranean Diet and theOkinawan Diet, two different approaches to food and nutrition that promise ongoing weight loss and a fresh perspective on healthy eating. The Mediterranean Diet is based on a French and Italian style philosophy of eating, full of fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains such as pasts. The Okinawan Diet, on the other hand, is based on a Japanese style of eating; this involves eating small portions of fresh (often organic) food throughout the day, with a heavy emphasis on seafood, vegetables, and whole grains that have a low caloric density. How do you choose the program that best suits you? Here's a quick summary of each diet

The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet is a Western diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, breads, potatoes, and olive oil. Dairy products and fish are also included in this plan, but red meat is virtually eliminated. Wine is consumed in moderation, and the diet itself can vary depending on region and availability of different ingredients.
The typical Mediterranean diet is high in monounstatured fats, which may lead to a healthy heart and manage blood cholesterol levels. The diet itself mirrors the lifestyle of Greece, Italy, and other countries bordering the Mediterranean sea. With the inclusion of healthy omega-3s, red wine, and healthy fish choices, this diet plan can be easy to adapt to, and offers plenty of fresh ingredients to develop a creative menu. The goal of this diet plan is to eat between 7-10 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day, limit high-fat dairy products, and include healthy fats such as nuts, olive oil, and omega-3s from fish. A glass of red wine with dinner is acceptable 2-3 times per week, and this is one of the easiest diets to adapt to for most Western eating styles.

The Okinawan Diet
After over 25 years of research in why the Okinawans enjoy such a low level of heart disease, researchers have drawn conclusions about the daily diet on the islands south of Japan. The typical Okinawan diet contains over seven servings of vegetables each day, whole grains, tofu, fatty fish that is high in omega-3s, along with soy and seaweed. Moderation is key to the daily diet, and meals are heavily centered on complex carbohydrates and platn-bsaed foods. The diet itself is naturally lower in fat, but it still provides plenty of energy for an active lifestyle.
The Okinawa Diet approach is based on the Caloric Density Pyramid, an outline that resembles the USDA Food Pyramid except that foods are ranked according to four different groups: featherweight, lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight. The diet itself is comprised of featherweights such as squash, green peas, apples, and peaches; lightweights such as white flaky fish, sushi, and cooked rice; middleweights that include foods such as hummus, soy cheese, and raisins; and heavyweights such as full fat cheddar cheese, plain rice, graham crackers, and even processed potatotes.
The goal of this diet is to eat freely from the featherweight and lightweight categories, and limit or even eliminate the other two calorie-dense food groups for ongoing weight management.
Bottom line: Both the Mediterranean diet and Okinawan diet plan offer a sensible weight loss and weight maintenance strategy. Since they focus on healthy eating patterns and balanced meal plans, this makes it much easier to enjoy a variety of foods and still lose weight. The Mediterranean diet can be adopted by most people who already eat a typical American or Western diet; simply cutting down on portions and including healthier choices for fats is the mainstay of this diet, and there are plenty of recipes available to keep you motivated. The Okinawan diet offers similar food choices but with more seafood and soy-based products. If you are vegetarian or vegan, the Okinawan diet offers more choices and food options, along with heart healthy benefits.