Italy, the Mediterranean diet is not always followed well: common mistakes

The Mediterranean diet is, along with the Chinese-Asian diet, the most nutritionally complete diet, providing the right amount of nutrients, vitamins and all those substances useful for good health.

However, some surveys show that not all Italians, the world's food elite, follow the Mediterranean diet to the letter. The WHO reminds us in its reports that a bad diet causes the same number of victims each year as tobacco.

So what are the most common mistakes Italians make at the table?

Mediterranean diet not always followed by Italians
The Mediterranean diet is, along with the Chinese-Asian diet, the most nutritionally complete diet, providing the right amount of nutrients, vitamins and all those substances useful for good health. This type of diet has even been electro World Heritage protected by UNESCO. Yet, it seems that only one in 10 Italians follow it to the letter.
WHO's warnings.
The World Health Organisation itself is sounding the alarm about the danger of bad nutrition and diets, which cause the death of as many people each year as die from tobacco consumption. It is therefore not a marginal aspect of our lives.
A sample study of Italians
That the inhabitants of the Belpaese themselves do not follow the Mediterranean diet to the letter is confirmed not only by WHO data, but also by a study by Crea Alimenti e Nutrizione, published in 'Frontiers in Nutrition'. Based on a sample of around 3000 people within Italy, this research shows that only 13% of Italians put its principles into practice.
The most frequent errors
Alessio Molfino, an expert from the Italian Society of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, explains the most common mistakes to 'Skytg24': "Among the most frequent errors are choosing fruit and vegetables out of season, consuming snacks and juices, which are poor in fibre and rich in refined sugars, as well as eating too much meat, especially red meat".
The secret is in simple foods
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the UN Food Systems Summit in Rome, spoke about the kind of diet that should be kept in order to decrease problems and diseases: "The key to decreasing the impact of major causes of death and chronic diseases is to adopt simpler eating styles, based on fresh, unprocessed, local and sustainably grown foods".
Some characteristics of the Mediterranean diet
Olive oil, pulses, oily fish, whole grains and little red meat are some of the typical ingredients of the Mediterranean diet. In addition to this, a fundamental part of this type of diet is unprocessed foods, such as fresh and especially seasonal fruit and vegetables.
The foods Italians eat (but shouldn't)
On the other hand, it would be better to totally eliminate ultra-processed foods, i.e. those containing hydrolysed proteins, maltodextrins, hydrogenated fats and additives such as colourings, preservatives, anti-oxidants, anti-caking agents, flavour enhancers and sweeteners. The main purpose of these additives, of course, is not to improve the nutritional properties of food, but to improve its taste, appearance and preservation. Examples of such foods include packaged snacks, carbonated and sweetened drinks, ready-to-eat meals and fast-foods.
The advantage of the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet remains, however, if followed to the letter in its interest, one of the absolute best diets for health and physical and mental well-being. Suffice it to say that those who follow the Mediterranean diet have a 25% lower risk of dying from cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.
The Mediterranean diet is also a cultural issue.
Cristian Maretti, president of Legacoop Agroalimentare, also spoke about everything related to the Mediterranean diet, from the environment to the Mediterranean cultural heritage, not only Italian: "The value of agricultural and fishing production interfaces with our culture and history. But it also has an important environmental sustainability value".
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