Transferability of the Mediterranean Diet to Non-Mediterranean Countries. What Is and What Is Not the Mediterranean Diet
Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Navarra, 31008 Pamplona, Spain
CIBER Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y la Nutrición (CIBEROBN), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, 28029 Madrid, Spain
Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
IdiSNA, Navarra Institute for Health Research, 31008 Pamplona, Navarra, Spain
Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Physiology, University of Navarra, 31008 Pamplona, Spain
Hellenic Health Foundation, 11527 Athens, Greece
WHO Collaborating Center for Nutrition and Health, Unit of Nutritional Epidemiology and Nutrition in Public Health, Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, University of Athens Medical School, 15772 Athens, Greece
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2017, 9(11), 1226; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9111226
Received: 18 September 2017 / Revised: 20 October 2017 / Accepted: 1 November 2017 / Published: 8 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessing the Mediterranean Diet in Public Health: Scoring Systems, Effects on Chronic Disease and Interventions)
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 populations is possible, but it requires a multitude of changes in dietary habits. New approaches for promoting healthy dietary behavior consistent with the MedDiet will offer healthful, sustainable, and practical strategies at all levels of public health. The following article presents practical resources and knowledge necessary for accomplishing these changes.