Is This Carb-Friendly Diet Healthier Than The Mediterranean Diet?

by Ella

A diet celebrated for its wine and seafood, not within the Mediterranean region but near Spain and Portugal, is gaining recognition as a healthy eating pattern distinct from the popular Mediterranean Diet. Dubbed The Atlantic Diet, it has captured the attention of wellness enthusiasts and health seekers alike. Recent studies suggest that adhering to The Atlantic Diet is linked with a notably reduced risk of chronic health issues compared to other dietary approaches. Delve into the intricacies of The Atlantic Diet and ascertain if it aligns with your wellness goals as we dissect insights from dieticians.

Unveiling The Atlantic Diet:

Megan Hilbert, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian at Top Nutrition Coaching, elucidates, “The Atlantic Diet encompasses the traditional eating habits prevalent among communities along the northwestern coast of Spain and northern Portugal, distinct from the Mediterranean coast. This dietary regimen emphasizes a plethora of vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, olive oil, nuts, seafood, and modest quantities of wine and dairy.”


Notably, The Atlantic Diet, also recognized as the Southern European Atlantic Diet (SEAD), accommodates enthusiasts of starch-rich diets. Its core food group comprises bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes, with adherents consuming 6-8 servings daily. Following starches, nuts take precedence, particularly chestnuts, walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts, followed by olive oil, dairy products, seafood, lean meat, and eggs. Hilbert adds, “An essential aspect of The Atlantic Diet is the emphasis on healthier cooking methods such as steaming, boiling, grilling, and baking, as opposed to frying.”


Moreover, The Atlantic Diet advocates communal eating customs and seasonal consumption. Research indicates that individuals who dine with others frequently exhibit greater happiness, satisfaction with life, trust in others, community engagement, and an extended social network. Embracing seasonal produce ensures a diverse diet, relishing nutrient-dense and flavorful produce at their peak, owing to seasonal variations and reduced transportation time and preservatives.


Benefits Galore:

1. Enhancing Metabolic Health:


Optimal metabolic health encompasses factors such as weight, blood pressure, metabolism, and blood sugar regulation. Research suggests that The Atlantic Diet may confer metabolic benefits. A 2024 study by Spanish researchers reported a 42 percent lower likelihood of metabolic syndrome among participants adhering to The Atlantic Diet for six months. “The observed reductions in obesity levels, HDL cholesterol, and waist circumference among participants on The Atlantic Diet can be attributed to the diet’s high consumption of plant-based foods and healthy fats like olive oil,” explains Hilbert. Anne Danahy, RDN, notes that the diet’s fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients can foster a healthier metabolic profile.

2. Promoting Heart Health:

The emphasis on omega-3 fatty acids from fish and seafood in The Atlantic Diet aids in lowering triglyceride levels and elevating HDL (good) cholesterol levels, as recommended by the American Heart Association. Additionally, the monounsaturated fats sourced from olive oil exhibit antioxidative properties, shielding cholesterol from oxidation and contributing to heart health by nurturing cell development and maintenance.

3. Fostering Longevity:

While The Atlantic Diet hasn’t been expressly designated as a Blue Zone (regions with the world’s longest-living populations) by longevity expert Dan Buettner, recent studies suggest its association with reduced mortality risk among older adults compared to other dietary regimes. A study published in February 2024 found a direct correlation between adhering to The Atlantic Diet and longevity, attributable to its inclusion of high-antioxidant and anti-inflammatory foods, including fresh produce, legumes, olive oil, fatty seafood, and occasional wine consumption.

Comparing The Atlantic Diet with The Mediterranean Diet:

While both The Atlantic and Mediterranean Diets advocate for whole grains, fruits, legumes, vegetables, olive oil, seafood, and moderate wine intake, they diverge in their inclusion of red meat and dairy. “The Mediterranean Diet typically features more pasta, while The Atlantic Diet incorporates carbohydrates from sources such as potatoes, rice, and bread,” Hilbert highlights. Furthermore, the vegetable repertoire in The Atlantic Diet often includes brassicas, a vegetable family comprising kale, cabbage, turnips, cauliflower, among others.

Embarking on The Atlantic Diet Journey:

Embracing whole foods, seasonal ingredients, and communal eating habits renders The Atlantic Diet a sustainable and positive eating approach. Hilbert advises, “For most individuals, prioritizing fruits, vegetables, lean meat, seafood, legumes, and healthy fats like olive oil promotes health, fostering better blood sugar control, enhanced brain health, reduced cholesterol and blood pressure levels, among other benefits.” The diet accentuates the consumption of fatty fish, seasonal produce, gut-friendly starches like potatoes and sourdough bread, and quality olive oil, meat, and dairy, preferably organic, grass-fed, and locally sourced.

However, experts caution against excessive red meat consumption, emphasizing the need for moderation. “Excessive red meat intake is associated with a heightened risk of chronic ailments, necessitating further research on its implications within The Atlantic Diet context,” Hilbert cautions. Consulting with healthcare providers or nutritionists is advised to tailor dietary choices to individual needs and preferences. Ultimately, the ideal diet is one that aligns with personal lifestyle, objectives, and physiological requirements.



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