The Mediterranean Diet as a Food Guide: The Problem of Culture and History

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Abstract

It seems dear there is no one m Mediterranean diet (MD) An ideal MD could be defined as a nutrient profile, a selection of foods, or as a cultural and historical artifact. However, any definition of an MD should recognize the factors that created it: social, cultural, historical, political, and economic. Transporting an “ideal,” possibly idealized, diet into a different cultural and social context may transform an indigenous domestic cuisine into a foreign “national” cuisine, more closely associated with dining out, cookery books, and middle-class recreational consumption. The Mediterranean diet is probably not a useful basis for nutrition education toward chronic disease risk reduction in non-Mediterranean countries.

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