Its benefits have been undisputed for decades now. The Mediterranean diet is a nutritional model inspired by the traditional food styles of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Since the 1950s it has been studied by scientists from all over the world who have highlighted its characteristics, which, associated with correct lifestyles, have a positive effect on our health.
Recognized in 2019 by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity and considered by WHO one of the most effective food strategies for preventing non-communicable diseases, such as obesity and cardiovascular diseases (heart attack and stroke in primis), the Mediterranean diet represents therefore a real lifestyle.
The “Chrono Med-Diet Score”
Despite scientific evidence, however, the number of Italians who follow the Mediterranean diet has been decreasing over time, settling at 13% – according to a study by Crea Alimenti e Nutrizione, published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Nutrition and based on a sample of 2869 people – also due to food contamination and the consumption of industrial products. “The Mediterranean diet, unfortunately, has been abandoned by Italy, as well as by Greece and Spain, which are the cradle of this diet – said Stefania Maggi, research director of the CNR and president of the Mediterranean Diet Foundation -. Paradoxically, the countries of Northern Europe are instead adhering to it in a very impressive way and the results can be seen in terms of obesity – which is much more frequent in our population than that of Northern Europe – and in the cardiovascular risk profile”.
To understand if we actually follow the dictates of this diet, a rapid and scientifically validated test has been developed, the “Crono Med-Diet Score” which assigns a score to users based on a short online questionnaire.
Born from a careful analysis of the beneficial role of the Mediterranean diet and the close relationship between nutrition and the health of the global population, with particular reference to chronic-degenerative pathologies, this test analyzes 3 interrelated elements: the time of taking the day of starchy foods, the time dedicated to physical activity, the daily energy balance.
Obesity, diets compared: low-calorie Mediterranean best approach
The Italian study of the University of Bari
The “Crono Med-Diet Score” was created on the basis of a study conducted by an Italian research group of the Policlinico and the University of Bari and published in the journal Nutrients, which highlighted a new evaluation scale linking the diet and life habits. Led by prof. Antonio Moschetta, professor of internal medicine at the University of Bari, the study started from the assumption that this type of diet is inversely associated with visceral adiposity and cardiovascular risk.
A questionnaire was created which, having collected data relating to gender, age, weight, height and abdominal circumference, analyzed the habits of intake of fruit, cooked or raw vegetables, pasta, butter, cereals, carbohydrates, fish, meat and alcohol. The rating scale fluctuates from -13 to 25 points and the goal is to have the highest possible result, which translates into correct adherence to the Mediterranean diet. The lower the score, the more it is followed in the wrong way (even unknowingly) and thus its health benefits are not exploited. Interviewed by La Repubblica, prof. Moschetta explained that “thanks to this new score it will be easier to identify and combat abdominal obesity, visceral adiposopathy, i.e. intra-abdominal fat, and predict the risk of cardiovascular pathologies, as mentioned”.
To food pyramids
As explained by the Veronesi Foundation, the Mediterranean diet is based on the food pyramid which is based on the consumption of “vegetables, fruit and cereals (preferably whole grains). Going up, we find milk and low-fat derivatives (such as yoghurt) included in 2-3 portions of 125ml. The oil extra virgin of olive to be eaten raw without exaggerating (3-4 tablespoons a day), together with garlic, onion, spices and aromatic herbs, instead of salt, are the best condiments for our Mediterranean-style dishes”. “Toward the top of the food pyramid, there are foods not to be eaten Everything is fine day, but weekly: they are those that mainly supply proteins, among which we should favor fish and legumes with at least two portions a week each, poultry 2-3 portions, eggs from 1 to 4 a week, cheeses no more than a couple of 100g portions, 50g if they are seasoned. Finally, at the top of the pyramid are foods to be eaten in moderation: two portions or less a week for red meat (100g) while processed meats (cold cuts, cold cuts, etc.) should be consumed even more sparingly (one portion a week 50g or even less). Finally, desserts, to be consumed as little as possible”.