Galicia Map - © 2024 -

Latest Healthy Eating Craze? Let’s Explore The ‘Atlantic Diet’

Most folks in the know, in the Western World, have pretty much come to accept the exulted Mediterranean Diet as the primo eating regime to optimize health and well being. But now, a new diet has emerged to challenge the de facto standard…

Galician Atlantic Diet - © 2022 -

What is it?

It’s formally known as the Galician Atlantic Diet (GAD), and it comes from the ancient region of Galicia, at the northwestern tip of the Iberian Penninsula, surrounded on two sides by the Atlantic Ocean. Close enough to the Med to have some similarities to that body of water’s namesake diet, but different in significant ways.

It seems someone noticed that folks in Northern Spain and Portugal enjoy longer, healthier lives than residents of many other regions in Europe. If they had been a little more creative, or romantic – or less clinical – in their outlook, they might have called it ‘The Iberian Diet’. Maybe they eventually will. It’s a marketing ‘natch’.

What they eat

According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the GAD focuses on fresh foods, including fruits, veggied, bread, beans and peas, nuts, fish, seafood and dairy products. But it also includes meats, such as beef and pork. Eggs are prominent. And, as you might expect in that part of the world, Olive Oil is the dominant fatty ingredient and condiment. And they always drink wine with meals.

The GAD is less about specific ingredients or dishes, and more about a traditional style of combining ingredients and preparing them.

“The Atlantic diet promotes health through nutrient-rich foods and communal eating habits, utilizing traditional cooking methods like stewing to enhance nutrient absorption,” Michelle Routhenstein, Preventive Cardiology Dietitian at, told the Today show.

What they found

Researchers found that those who followed the new diet had lower rates of cardiopulmonary disease and metabolic disorders. Both are leading scourges of the Western World these days. Metabolic syndrome, particularly, contributes to a host of other diseases and conditions. You’ve probably heard it all before: obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglycerides and high cholesterol.

The takeaway

The Atlantic Diet and the Med Diet appear to offer similar benefits. But they achieve them in different ways. “However, the Mediterranean Diet has a more extensive research base, particularly regarding its association with reduced cardiovascular risk,” Routhenstein notes.

On the other hand, NYC Dietician Natalie Rizzo told Today: “While this research is promising, the Atlantic diet is not that well-known. But with its emphasis on eating tasty foods like bread and bringing people together for communal eating, don’t be surprised if the Atlantic diet picks up steam soon.”

My take

I heartily endorse Rizzo’s notion that the GAD will be more palatable to many more folks then the Med Diet. And, therefore, eventually more popular. As a prominent Canadian supermarket chain  of yesteryear used to sloganise, “It’s mainly because of the meat!”

And… Let me explain my opening comment about the name of the new diet. The first thing that popped into my head when I read the word ‘Galician’ was ‘glizzie’ – the East Coast slang term for ‘hot dog’.

“With roots in the rap world, a ‘glizzy’ is slang for a Glock handgun,” food writer Joe Rivera explains in his thoroughgoing treatise on the origins of the term. “The evolution of the word to include ‘hot dog’ comes from [its similarity to] the extended magazine of a [semi-automatic] pistol, which is about the length of a hot dog.”

Naturally, knowing this, my thoughts turned to how both guns and hot dogs, used improperly or to excess, could shorten one’s life. Not a great association for what’s supposed to be the Next Great Diet.

So, let’s all get behind rebranding the GAD as ‘The Iberian Diet’, and cut off any possible stigma at the pass!

~ Maggie J.