Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean Diet

In this article we will try to explain what the Mediterranean diet is all about and the studies done on it

In another article we have seen healthy eating, a topic certainly linked to the Mediterranean diet. This diet is not just a set of recommended ingredients and foods, but it is a true lifestyle based on good habits derived from the food tradition of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including Italy.

Nowadays, bringing unrefined grains, vegetables and fruits to the table every day seems like a no-brainer, but it hasn’t always been that way…

This is how the Mediterranean diet was born, the most popular in the world

Mediterranean Diet
Luis Isaias

Has the Mediterranean diet been studied by an American?

Yes, in the early 1950s, the American biologist and physiologist Ancel Keys carefully analyzed the diet of the populations of the Mediterranean basin, comparing it with that of other countries.

The famous Seven Countries Study, directed by Keys, was based on the observation of food habits and lifestyles of seven countries, with the aim of understanding their effects. on the welfare of the population, with special attention to the incidence of cardiovascular diseases and various intolerances, such as lactose intolerance.

The consumption of food in various countries

The research lasted decades and allowed the different diets to be compared in a detailed and careful way, highlighting that:

In the countries of northern Europe, the most used foods were milk, potatoes, animal fats and sweets;
• The United States was characterized by a high consumption of meat, fruits and sweets;
• In Italy, the high use of cereals and wine was evident;
in the former Yugoslavia the most widely used foods were bread, vegetables and fish;
• In Greece the consumption of olive oil and fruits prevailed;
in Japan they ate mainly fish, rice and soy products.

Keys’s research showed that a diet based on the consumption of grains, vegetables, fruits, fish, and olive oil was by far a better alternative to typical American and Northern European diets, too high in fat, animal protein and sugars.

Characteristics of the Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is characterized by a series of elements to be consumed daily in well-defined proportions, in order to obtain a balanced diet that includes all the macronutrients, roughly distributed according to the following distribution: 60% carbohydrates, 25-30 % fat, 10-15% protein.

The foods that should be consumed daily are 3 servings of unrefined cereals, such as pasta, rice and bread, but also spelled or oatmeal, 3 servings of fruit, 6 servings of vegetables.

Milk and yogurt can be used every day, while cheese should not be eaten more than twice a week.

Vegetable proteins, such as those contained in legumes, are far preferable to animal proteins.

The consumption of meat, preferably white, is limited to once or twice a week, while it is recommended to eat fish 3 to 4 times.

As for fats, in the Mediterranean diet up to a maximum of 3 servings per day are allowed, with preference directed to fats that contain monounsaturated acids, which according to ScienceDirect are:

“A type of fat characterized by the presence of a double bond between its carbon chains.”

Characteristics of the Mediterranean diet
Luis Isaias

Conclusions

It can be said that the Mediterranean diet represents the best solution to protect health against various diseases.

Therefore, from the article we can conclude that:

•The meats that should be consumed the most are white;

•Vegetable proteins, such as those contained in legumes, are much better than animal proteins;

• The Mediterranean diet is not just a set of ingredients and recommended foods, but it is a true lifestyle.

The Mediterranean diet also represents a historical and cultural heritage of great importance and is proposed as a symbol of a cuisine whose simplicity, imagination and flavours are appreciated throughout the world.