after the Mediterranean diet, time for the Atlantic diet?

There is a word that rarely appeals to nutritionists: diet. Often synonymous with deprivation, these fad diets sometimes turn out to be too restrictive and therefore counterproductive. However, many studies and nutrition professionals ensure that the Mediterranean diet, as long as it is adopted as a long-term lifestyle, it has proven its ability to protect against a certain number of diseases. But a new baby seems to overshadow this famous diet: the Atlantic diet. What are the differences between these two diets? Is it just a way to praise or sell the Mediterranean diet? What are the advantages of this traditional cuisine?

What is the Atlantic diet?

The Atlantic diet, adopted by the populations of northwestern Spain and Portugal, suggests prioritizing local, seasonal, unprocessed products in their diet. And instead focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, proteins and olive oil. Does this remind you of anything? Indeed, if you are familiar with the Mediterranean diet, you will have noticed that the two are similar in many ways. So why this spotlight on this “new” diet?

What are the benefits of the Atlantic diet?

If some media highlight this new diet, it is undoubtedly because a study, published in the scientific journal Jama Network Open in February 2024 revealed that this Atlantic diet had positive consequences on health. More precisely, it protects metabolic syndrome.

What is metabolic syndrome?

A cocktail of symptoms that are particularly bad for your health. People affected by this disorder associate a large waist circumference (more than 94 cm for men and 80 cm for women) with two pathologies among them, precise Inserm: o hyperglycemia (excess blood sugar), high triglyceride levels, too low good cholesterol or too high blood pressure. A rather worrying clinical picture that can lead to type 2 diabetes, bad cholesterol, cardiovascular diseases, etc.

What does the study reveal about the Atlantic diet and its health benefits?

To return to this study, published in February 2024, researchers followed 250 families from the north of Spain. Half of them received health education classes and cooking classes based on the principles of the Atlantic diet. The second group, of 124 families, did not change their lifestyle. Six months later, 23 of the 457 participants who did not have metabolic syndrome at the beginning of the study developed this disease: 6 in the group that had tried the Atlantic diet and 17 in the control group.

Conclusion: “These results provide important evidence that a family-centered dietary intervention based on a traditional diet (the Atlantic diet) can reduce the risk of the incidence of metabolic syndrome,” write the authors of the study

How is the Atlantic diet different from the Mediterranean diet?

If we still have little precise information about this diet (the JAMA study remains vague about the type of products highlighted), sElon has learnedThe Atlantic diet is composed of fresh fish, red meat, dairy products, vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grain bread.

As for Mediterranean diet, is based on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, spices, herbs, seeds, fish and olive oil. We therefore find a common basis: a balanced, seasonal diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil. And moderate consumption of red wine. And in both cases we avoid ultra-processed foods and sweets.

“What is perhaps a little different is that we consume a little more meat, especially red meat, dairy products and vegetables in the Atlantic diet,” he analyzed. Sophie Janvier, dietitian-nutritionistauthor of The gentle way to eat better* and creator of the BOOST online program on anti-inflammatory nutrition.

It also seems that the preferred cooking method is not the same. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes salads and cooking with olive oil. The Atlantic diet favors cooking in the oven or stews, cooked for a long time. “The advantage of simmering cooking, with low temperature cooking, is that we find vitamins (at least those that are not very sensitive to heat) and minerals in the juice, which will be consumed,” adds Sophie Janvier.

Is it really worth adopting the Atlantic diet?

“It suits the elderly well,” assures Sophie Janvier. A 2021 study was conducted on 3,483 people more than 60 years. It shows that the adoption of this Atlantic diet reduces all the risks of mortality! » There is therefore no doubt that this balanced diet could be interesting. But not necessarily more than the Mediterranean diet. “It doesn’t matter if the diet is classified as Mediterranean or Mediterranean. Atlantic, it is the main principles on which they are based that count, insists the dietitian. The important message is to eat local, different, balanced, raw! These ancestral diets put in place fresh and local products, especially fruits and vegetables at the peak of their maturity and therefore rich in vitamins and other nutrients.

Another interest of this Atlantic diet: “this traditional diet is accompanied by a certain conviviality, habits of moderation, and is based on a local culture that adds to the pleasure of eating, he continues: remember that in the end nature it is well done if you eat the products around you, in a varied way, and cook, you have everything you need! Without the hassle of calculating calories, drastic restrictions or monotonous diets.

Finally, the specialist underlines an interesting point: we can be surprised to see red meat appear in this Atlantic diet, even if it is good for health. We know in fact that a excess of this product increases cardiovascular risk. “But from what I’ve read, the meat remains as a counterpoint, in a way to flavor the dish, so it’s not about the alpha and omega of the recipes, we prefer to stay on a dish omega 3 for cardiovascular health and that help fight chronic diseases.

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