Olive oil, red wine, cheese and fish are staples of the Mediterranean diet. These are things we can all agree on. However, there are some beliefs out there surrounding this diet that simply are not true. What are some common myths that people believe about this diet?

More Restrictive than People Realize

The Mediterranean diet involves eating only 1500 calories a day. Wine is restricted to five ounces, every couple of days. In that same vein, some people believe that you can eat as much cheese as you want on this diet. Eating too much cheese results in unwanted calories and saturated fats. Eating cheese is a common Mediterranean practice, but you want to do so moderately. One way to keep your cheese consumption to a healthy level is by using strong-flavored cheeses such as feta or goat, to help you get a ton of flavor while using much less cheese.

You don’t need to exercise

While exercising is not technically a mandated aspect of the Mediterranean diet, you are not off the hook for exercising when on this diet. Because the diet is based off the habits of people living on the Mediterranean coast over fifty years ago, they likely were not hitting up the gym for exercise or going to the local spin class. However, they were much more active in their daily lives than we are today. Their days were consumed with manual labor and walking from place to place, while ours often involve sitting at a desk and driving from place to place. This is all the more reason you should be incorporating exercise into your daily life.

It’s too high in fat

Many people steer clear of the Med diet because they believe it is just too high in fat. But health experts agree that it’s not the amount of fat, but the type of fat that matters. Fish, nuts and olive oil contain heart-healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Traditional Mediterranean-style diets are relatively low in saturated fat, which is the type of fat you do want to steer clear of.

The Mediterranean diet can be great when used properly. If people continue to believe myths such as it being too high in fat or that you can completely ignore exercise, they will not be able to get the full benefits of this wonderful diet.