a1 Faculty of Health and Sport, Serviceboks 422, University of Agder, 4604 Kristiansand, Norway
a2 EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Objective A greater adherence to what has been labelled the Mediterranean diet is associated with a significant improvement in health status. However, it is unclear what this diet really contains. The objective of the present study is to discuss the contents of the scientific Mediterranean diet.
Conclusions We argue that the evidence of the health-enhancing properties of the Mediterranean diet is not necessarily based on Mediterranean foods, and that we indeed do not have to eat Mediterranean foods to enjoy the health-promoting properties of the diet it represents. To maintain dietary variety, cultural diversity and heritage, as well as for environmental reasons, it seems more appropriate to promote regionally appropriate diets throughout the world – rather than a global Mediterranean diet.
(Received October 06 2009)
(Accepted February 04 2010)
(Online publication March 26 2010)