Today we hear a lot about the Mediterranean diet. UNESCO, the cultural arm of the United Nations, has proclaimed the Mediterranean diet one of civilization’s great treasures. But which Mediterranean diet? There are sixteen countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. I’ve been to most of them for extended periods of time, and I can tell you that there is no single Mediterranean diet.
What is eaten in Spain is very different from that eaten in Italy, and what is consumed in Italy is distinct from the diet in Greece, not to mention the other 13 countries in the region. If you ask most Americans for their definition of the Mediterranean diet, the response is usually eating pasta (and pizza), drinking red wine, using a little olive oil, drinking espresso, and adding some parmesan cheese to their meals. But that American version doesn’t look anything like the real Mediterranean diet. If you eat that way—and think you’re cutting your risk of heart disease and helping your body shed fat—it’s time to rethink.