Expert: Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It (Plume, 2010) and creator of BetterThanDieting.com

What it means: The Mediterranean diet calls for fresh produce, healthy fats (like nuts, seeds and olive oil), whole grains, fish, lean dairy and even red wine, says Taub-Dix.

Why it’s a thing: This eating approach isn’t so much a plan as it is a lifestyle of eating together with your family, cooking foods that are wholesome and real and appreciating all that good health brings, Taub-Dix says. “The Mediterranean diet reflects cooking with a heart and a history of those who came before us and how they ate,” she says.

The diet became popular based on research showing that people living in Mediterranean countries—like Italy and Greece—had lower risk than Americans for many chronic diseases, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The research suggests eating poultry and eggs in moderation and eating red meat rarely. It limits processed meats, refined grains, added sugars and refined oils.

What it takes: “Foods that don’t wear food labels, like fruits and vegetables, should take up at least half of your plate and, for foods bearing labels, choose those that have short, recognizable ingredient lists,”  Taub-Dix says.

“As with any other sensible diet, keep proper portions in mind,” she adds. “Olive oil weighs in at 2,000 calories per cup, so even though it has been the staple of the Mediterranean diet for ages, you still shouldn’t eat it as if it were soup.”

What's my ideal diet? Jump to: 

Gluten free Paleo
Mediterranean Plant-based
Intermittent fasting DASH