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Saez-Almendros S.,University of Barcelona | Obrador B.,University of Barcelona | Bach-Faig A.,Mediterranean Diet Foundation | Serra-Majem L.,University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria | Serra-Majem L.,CIBER ISCIII
Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source | Year: 2013

Background: Dietary patterns can substantially vary the resource consumption and environmental impact of a given population. Dietary changes such as the increased consumption of vegetables and reduced consumption of animal products reduce the environmental footprint and thus the use of natural resources. The adherence of a given population to the Mediterranean Dietary Pattern (MDP) through the consumption of the food proportions and composition defined in the new Mediterranean Diet pyramid can thus not only influence human health but also the environment. The aim of the study was to analyze the sustainability of the MDP in the context of the Spanish population in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, agricultural land use, energy consumption and water consumption. Furthermore, we aimed to compare the current Spanish diet with the Mediterranean Diet and in comparison with the western dietary pattern, exemplified by the U.S.A. food pattern, in terms of their corresponding environmental footprints. Methods. The environmental footprints of the dietary patterns studied were calculated from the dietary make-up of each dietary pattern, and specific environmental footprints of each food group. The dietary compositions were obtained from different sources, including food balance sheets and household consumption surveys. The specific environmental footprints of food groups were obtained from different available life-cycle assessments. Results: The adherence of the Spanish population to the MDP has a marked impact on all the environmental footprints studied. Increasing adherence to the MDP pattern in Spain will reduce greenhouse gas emissions (72%), land use (58%) and energy consumption (52%), and to a lower extent water consumption (33%). On the other hand, the adherence to a western dietary pattern implies an increase in all these descriptors of between 12% and 72%. Conclusions: The MDP is presented as not only a cultural model but also as a healthy and environmentally-friendly model, adherence to which, in Spain would have, a significant contribution to increasing the sustainability of food production and consumption systems in addition to the well-known benefits on public health. © 2013 Sáez-Almendros et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Bach-Faig A.,Mediterranean Diet Foundation
Public health nutrition | Year: 2011

To present the Mediterranean diet (MD) pyramid: a lifestyle for today. A new graphic representation has been conceived as a simplified main frame to be adapted to the different nutritional and socio-economic contexts of the Mediterranean region. This review gathers updated recommendations considering the lifestyle, dietary, sociocultural, environmental and health challenges that the current Mediterranean populations are facing. Mediterranean region and its populations. Many innovations have arisen since previous graphical representations of the MD. First, the concept of composition of the 'main meals' is introduced to reinforce the plant-based core of the dietary pattern. Second, frugality and moderation is emphasised because of the major public health challenge of obesity. Third, qualitative cultural and lifestyle elements are taken into account, such as conviviality, culinary activities, physical activity and adequate rest, along with proportion and frequency recommendations of food consumption. These innovations are made without omitting other items associated with the production, selection, processing and consumption of foods, such as seasonality, biodiversity, and traditional, local and eco-friendly products. Adopting a healthy lifestyle and preserving cultural elements should be considered in order to acquire all the benefits from the MD and preserve this cultural heritage. Considering the acknowledgment of the MD as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO (2010), and taking into account its contribution to health and general well-being, we hope to contribute to a much better adherence to this healthy dietary pattern and its way of life with this new graphic representation.


Bach-Faig A.,Mediterranean Diet Foundation | Berry E.M.,Hebrew University of Jerusalem | Lairon D.,Regulations | Reguant J.,Mediterranean Diet Foundation | And 10 more authors.
Public Health Nutrition | Year: 2011

Objective: To present the Mediterranean diet (MD) pyramid: a lifestyle for today. Design: A new graphic representation has been conceived as a simplified main frame to be adapted to the different nutritional and socio-economic contexts of the Mediterranean region. This review gathers updated recommendations considering the lifestyle, dietary, sociocultural, environmental and health challenges that the current Mediterranean populations are facing. Setting and Subjects: Mediterranean region and its populations. Results: Many innovations have arisen since previous graphical representations of the MD. First, the concept of composition of the 'main meals' is introduced to reinforce the plant-based core of the dietary pattern. Second, frugality and moderation is emphasised because of the major public health challenge of obesity. Third, qualitative cultural and lifestyle elements are taken into account, such as conviviality, culinary activities, physical activity and adequate rest, along with proportion and frequency recommendations of food consumption. These innovations are made without omitting other items associated with the production, selection, processing and consumption of foods, such as seasonality, biodiversity, and traditional, local and eco-friendly products. Conclusions: Adopting a healthy lifestyle and preserving cultural elements should be considered in order to acquire all the benefits from the MD and preserve this cultural heritage. Considering the acknowledgment of the MD as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO (2010), and taking into account its contribution to health and general well-being, we hope to contribute to a much better adherence to this healthy dietary pattern and its way of life with this new graphic representation. © The Authors 2011.


Serra-Majem L.,Mediterranean Diet Foundation | Serra-Majem L.,University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria | Bach-Faig A.,Mediterranean Diet Foundation | Raido-Quintana B.,Mediterranean Diet Foundation
International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research | Year: 2012

The recent recognition by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) of the Mediterranean diet as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity reinforces, together with the scientific evidence, the Mediterranean diet as a cultural and health model. The Mediterranean diet has numerous beneficial effects on among others the immune system, against allergies, on the psyche, or even on quality of life, topics that are currently fields of research. The Mediterranean diet has an international projection; it is regarded as the healthiest and the most sustainable eating pattern on the planet and is a key player in the public health nutrition field globally, but especially in the Mediterranean area. Moreover, this ancient cultural heritage should be preserved and promoted from different areas: public health, agriculture, culture, politics, and economic development. © 2012 Hans Huber Publishers, Hogrefe AG, Bern.


Verberne L.,University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria | Verberne L.,Wageningen University | Bach-Faig A.,Mediterranean Diet Foundation | Buckland G.,Catalan Institute of Oncology ICO IDIBELL | And 2 more authors.
Nutrition and Cancer | Year: 2010

The aim of this article was to summarize the evidence concerning the association between Mediterranean dietary pattern and cancer risk in observational epidemiological studies. All the studies that met the following criteria were reviewed: human cohort and case-control studies that examined the effect of the Mediterranean diet as an entire food pattern (the combined effect of individual components of the Mediterranean diet) and whose results were published in English. Out of the 12 reviewed studies (7 cohort and 5 case-control), 10 studies (6 cohort and 4 case-control) provided some evidence that the Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of cancer incidence or mortality. Although the reviewed studies varied according to certain study characteristics, such as being set in different populations and studying different cancer outcomes, the existing evidence from observational studies collectively suggests that there is a probable protective role of the Mediterranean diet toward cancer in general. Specific results for several outcomes such as different cancer sites deserve additional evidence. This favorable effect of the Mediterranean diet on cancer reduction is of public health relevance, given the tendency of modern societies to shift toward a more U.S. and Northern European dietary pattern. Copyright © 2010, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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