Evaluating and adapting the Mediterranean diet for non-Mediterranean populations: A critical appraisal (2024)

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Definitions and potential health benefits of the Mediterranean diet: views from experts around the world

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Shweta Khandelwal

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International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research

Nutritional and Cultural Aspects of the Mediterranean Diet

2012 •

Anna Bach Faig

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Sandro Dernini, Anna Bach Faig, Rekia Belahsen

The purpose of this article is to review the historical development of the healthy food model of the Mediterranean Diet and related scientific knowledge from the early 1960s to the present time. The review presents the origins of the first pyramid of the traditional Mediterranean Diet in 1993 and how it has been revised to produce, in 2010, a new updated Mediterranean Diet pyramid. What emerges over the years is the evolution of the Mediter - ranean Diet from a range of specific foods to a comprehensive Mediterranean lifestyle in which food, health, culture, people, and sustainability all interact, even if its practice in the Mediterranean is diminishing. The food transition in Mediterranean countries and the emerging issues of overweight and obesity are also highlighted in the article.

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British Journal of Nutrition

The Mediterranean diet: culture, health and science

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Jordi Salas-Salvadó

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Public Health Nutrition

Qualitative methods to evaluate Mediterranean diet in adults

2006 •

Mariette Gerber

ObjectiveTo fulfil a comprehensive approach to consumption, which is necessary to characterise food habits and their relationship to diseases, using a diet quality index (DQI) developed for a Mediterranean region (Med-DQI).SettingA cross-sectional nutritional survey provided the data for the construction of the DQI.SubjectsA representative sample made up of 964 subjects from a French Mediterranean area, Hérault département.MethodsFoods such as olive oil, fish and cereals were used instead of nutrients to build up scores which constructed the Med-DQI. Biochemical analysis identified biomarkers used to validate the Med-DQI. Correspondence factorial analysis illustrated the characteristics of subjects with different scores given by the Med-DQI.ResultsThe subjects could be satisfactorily classified by the Med-DQI. The oldest age, less educated, overweight, manual workers, living in a rural area and male classes showed a better Med-DQI. For women, they were also from the oldest age class...

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The British journal of nutrition

The Mediterranean diet: health, science and society

2015 •

Mariette Gerber

The Mediterranean diet (MD) emerged as a healthy food regimen long before it could be recognised which nutrients or foods were responsible for its observed benefits, and it was only in the middle of the last century that the first scientific approach 'The Seven Countries Study' appeared. Epidemiological and anthropological studies of the MD converged, first by investigating at single nutrients or foods, then by adopting the more holistic approach of dietary patterns (DP), and now with a molecular approach. These studies resulted in convincing evidence that a MD decreases the risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality and incidence. A risk reduction of developing type 2 diabetes is probable. Evidence is less stringent for other metabolic diseases and all cancers but from possible to probable for some cancer sites. Although DP showed that the MD has to be considered in its totality, olive oil could have a specific role. Lifestyle factors such as physical activity...

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Mediterranean food consumption patterns and health: Diet, environment, society, economy

Elena Urdaneta

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Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases

Back to the future: The Mediterranean diet paradigm

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Androniki Naska

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Transferability of the Mediterranean Diet to Non-Mediterranean Countries. What Is and What Is Not the Mediterranean Diet

2017 •


Substantial evidence has verified the Mediterranean diet's (MedDiet) nutritional adequacy, long-term sustainability, and effectiveness for preventing hard clinical events from cardiovascular disease (CVD), as well as increasing longevity. This article includes a cumulative meta-analysis of prospective studies supporting a strong inverse association between closer adherence to the MedDiet and the incidence of hard clinical events of CVD. The MedDiet has become an increasingly popular topic of interest when focusing on overall food patterns rather than single nutrient intake, not only in Mediterranean countries, but also globally. However, several myths and misconceptions associated with the traditional Mediterranean diet should be clearly addressed and dispelled, particularly those that label as "Mediterranean" an eating pattern that is not in line with the traditional Mediterranean diet. The transferability of the traditional MedDiet to the non-Mediterranean population...

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Definition of the Mediterranean Diet: A Literature Review

Kate Chou

Numerous studies over several decades suggest that following the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and improve cognitive health. However, there are inconsistencies among methods used for evaluating and defining the MedDiet. Through a review of the literature, we aimed to quantitatively define the MedDiet by food groups and nutrients. Databases PubMed, MEDLINE, Science Direct, Academic Search Premier and the University of South Australia Library Catalogue were searched. Articles were included if they defined the MedDiet in at least two of the following ways: (1) general descriptive definitions; (2) diet pyramids/numbers of servings of key foods; (3) grams of key foods/food groups; and (4) nutrient and flavonoid content. Quantity of key foods and nutrient content was recorded and the mean was calculated. The MedDiet contained three to nine serves of vegetables, half to two serves of fruit, one to 13 serves of cereals and up to eight serves of olive oil daily. It contained approximately 9300 kJ, 37% as total fat, 18% as monounsaturated and 9% as saturated, and 33 g of fibre per day. Our results provide a defined nutrient content and range of servings for the MedDiet based on past and current literature. More detailed reporting amongst studies could refine the definition further.

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Evaluating and adapting the Mediterranean diet for non-Mediterranean populations: A critical appraisal (2024)


What are the criticisms of the Mediterranean diet? ›

There may be health concerns with this eating style for some people, including:
  • You may gain weight from eating fats in olive oil and nuts.
  • You may have lower levels of iron. ...
  • You may have calcium loss from eating fewer dairy products.
Jul 30, 2022

What makes the Mediterranean diet different from other diets? ›

Compared to a typical American diet, the Mediterranean diet includes fewer meats and carbohydrates, higher amounts of monounsaturated (good) fats, and more plant-based foods like vegetables, whole grains, and nuts.

Would you follow the Mediterranean diet why why not? ›

The Mediterranean diet is a healthy-eating plan. It's focused on plants and includes the traditional flavors and cooking methods of the region. If you're looking for a heart-healthy eating plan, the Mediterranean diet might be right for you. It's less of a diet, meaning a restricted way to eat, and more of a lifestyle.

What are 2 important facts about the Mediterranean diet? ›

The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes plant-based foods and healthy fats. You eat mostly veggies, fruits and whole grains. Extra virgin olive oil is the main source of fat. The Mediterranean Diet can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and many other chronic conditions.

What are 5 negatives from the Mediterranean diet? ›

Risks with the Mediterranean diet
  • It could also lead to weight gain. There's no set rulebook for this eating style, so it may be possible to go overboard on certain foods, such as olive oil and nuts. ...
  • Your grocery bill may go up. ...
  • You still need to talk to your provider.
Sep 1, 2022

What are the pros and cons of the Mediterranean diet? ›

What Are the Pros and Cons of the Mediterranean Diet?
  • Pro: The Mediterranean diet can help reduce disease risk.
  • Pro: Eating Mediterranean helps the planet.
  • Pro: The Mediterranean diet can help your memory.
  • Con: You don't get to consume unlimited amounts of red meat and alcohol.
  • Related Stories:

Is the Mediterranean diet actually healthy? ›

Bottom Line. Research supports the use of the Mediterranean diet as a healthy eating pattern for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, increasing lifespan, and healthy aging. When used in conjunction with caloric restriction, the diet may also support healthy weight loss.

What is the opposite of the Mediterranean diet? ›

Keto diet. Compared to the Mediterranean diet, the keto diet is much more restrictive. The ketogenic diet involves increasing your consumption of fat and strictly limiting carb intake to enter ketosis, a metabolic state in which your body uses fat for fuel instead of sugar ( 2 ).

How does the Mediterranean diet compared to the American diet? ›

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes consuming more vegetables, fruits, and nuts regularly, while the Western diet does not. Your body is healthier by consuming more veggies, fruits, and important vitamins and minerals. At the same time, nuts can help you modify the brain's progress.

How difficult is the Mediterranean diet? ›

Restrictions May Feel Challenging. This diet recommends reducing red meat and added sugar consumption, which may be difficult for some people. Those who are used to the standard American diet may consume added sugar in processed foods on a regular basis.

What makes the Mediterranean diet so healthy? ›

By emphasizing mostly plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of a host of diseases, from cancer to diabetes. The anti-inflammatory benefits of these ingredients can also keep your immune system strong and prevent colds and other illnesses.

Why is the Mediterranean diet the best in the world? ›

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating less red meat, sugar and saturated fat and incorporating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, herbs and spices into your daily diet. “It's extremely delicious and easy to follow and get started.

What are the scientific facts about the Mediterranean diet? ›

“The Mediterranean diet is high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts, which are all rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber,” says Pate. “These foods have been linked to reduced inflammation, improved immune function, and a lower risk of chronic diseases.”

What does the Mediterranean diet pyramid summarize? ›

The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid is a nutrition guide that was developed by the Oldways Preservation Trust, the Harvard School of Public Health, and the World Health Organization in 1993. It summarizes the Mediterranean Diet pattern of eating, suggesting the types and frequency of foods that should be enjoyed every day.

What do experts say about the Mediterranean diet? ›

Bottom Line. Research supports the use of the Mediterranean diet as a healthy eating pattern for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, increasing lifespan, and healthy aging. When used in conjunction with caloric restriction, the diet may also support healthy weight loss.

Do experts recommend the Mediterranean diet? ›

The Mediterranean diet is consistently touted by health and nutrition experts as the best food plan to follow, and its benefits are backed by extensive research. Not only is this diet relatively simple, but it also allows for ample flavor and variety (including moderate amounts of red wine.)

Is Mediterranean diet still considered healthy? ›

Since then, the Mediterranean diet has become the bedrock of heart-healthy eating, with well-studied health benefits including lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes. “It's one of a small number of diets that has research to back it up,” said Dr.

What are the barriers to the Mediterranean diet? ›

In the cognitive domain, barriers included a lack of knowledge of the MedDiet, a lack of knowledge of the details of the diet, e.g., which specific foods were included and how these could be incorporated into meals, and a lack of knowledge of the value of the diet for health, or confusions and concerns over the health ...

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