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STRONG_SARAH
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Myth of the Mediterranean diet

Friday, February 15, 2013

Somebody thought of that
And someone believed it
And look what it's done so far

-from The Rainbow Connection, Kermit the frog


Someone wrote it, someone believed it. And now even dietitians spread these myths.
According to Becky Hand (Sparkpeople Dietician) The italians are eating healthy foods at every meal. To be fair, she's not the only one who believes this, you'll find this written all over the internet. Sounds great but its not true.

I live in Italy, they eat cookies for breakfast. Seriously. Or pastries or donuts. Italians believe that we need sugar in the morning to 'wake up our brains'.

And they NEVER eat healthy whole grains. All the fresh breads, pastas, pastries, etc. are from white, refined, simple-carb flour. They do eat more veggies and fruits, maybe 3 servings a day. Not 5.

They eat a LOT of cheese, and drink wine (white and red) at lunch and dinner. They eat cured meats (salami, bacon, ham, etc.) EVERY DAY.

Some other misconceptions: They eat a lot of fish. No, it depends on where you live, but not that much. They eat lentils more often. No, actually only on New Year's Eve. They eat red meat only a few times a month. No, if they can afford it at least 3 times a week.

Is the food better? Oh yeah. It's all fresh. What's better than freshly made pastries that melt in your mouth, or young sparkling white wines made in your own vineyard?
Is it 'oh-so-incredibly-healthy'? No, not like they'd have you think. It's healthier because they don't use all the preservatives, hormones, etc. A fresh pastry is healthier than a pastry off the shelf, sure. But wouldn't a bowl of yogurt and berries be even healthier?

They are thinner, but not necessarily healthier. They have a huge rate of diabetes in people 60 and older. And all the other human conditions common in America. Except obesity.

This is the article that set me off www.sparkpeople.com/reso
urce/nutrition_articles.as
p?id=401
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • VHALKYRIE
    Very interesting insight into the 'real' Mediterranean diet. Like you, I am a traveler and I've written a few blogs about my insights into the native diets of places I've visited.

    Here's one that I wrote including some of my observations in Seoul, Korea and France.

    http://www.sparkpeop
    le.com/mypage_public_journal_in
    dividual.asp?blog_id=5116833>
    Once I have time to compose my thoughts better, I might write another comparison about my observations between Spain (low-obesity) and Mexico (higher-obesity).
    1282 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/26/2013 11:27:22 AM
  • PENNYSAVER2
    Thanks for sharing. This was a very interesting blog.
    1284 days ago
  • SPARK_JO
    I'm laughing out loud.

    I also live in Italy and I totally agree.

    In Switzerland, we eat more cereals, whole wheat, we actually walk and bike places (but that's another topic). Italians can eat white pasta twice a day, or white rice, or white bread, or white dough pizza , or white... stuff.

    1) they are convinced they have the best food in the world 2) they believe the credit of the Mediterranean diet gives them.

    BUT

    1) their food lacks variety and is closed toward any other type of food 2) the Mediterranean diet is actually about grilled fish, grilled veggies, grilled seafood and fresh olive oil, NOT pasta twice a day.

    But, hey, what do I know, THEY have the food knowledge.

    I feel less alone reading this post. THANKS.
    1305 days ago
  • BEAUTIFUL_REINA
    Wow isn't that amazing! Maybe "they" meant eating how Mediterraneans USE to eat or something.
    1320 days ago
  • ADARKARA
    Love it! It's amazing what we learn with a little research. Thanks!
    1320 days ago
  • NISSANGIRL
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Great Blog!!! and so true, I come from an Italian family and u hot the nail right on the head! emoticon mm
    1320 days ago
  • LULUBELLE65
    Now I want pastry.
    1320 days ago
  • TERRI289
    I can see why you are annoyed.....

    1320 days ago
  • STRONG_SARAH
    I think it's a combination of things. They lead active lifestyles (they walk a lot because they tend to live in cities, not suburbs), their meats and milk don't have hormones, and their portion sizes are generally smaller. But not by much. Some of it might be genetic as well. They're not very tall and the women tend to have narrower ribcages and shoulders.
    1320 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/15/2013 10:43:54 PM
  • SPSPSP1
    I'm curious as to why they're still thinner despite their eating habits.
    1320 days ago
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