I’ve always thought that the “Mediterranean Diet” was too loosely defined, that it meant different things to different people. (I just read under that link Melinda posted: “Don’t forget lamb, sausages and other charcuterie, a splendid variety of cheeses, and some occasional goat for a truly Mediterranean diet!”) Welp, there you go, US News places it in the plant-based category and likens it to a vegetarian diet; others see it as a low-carb, meat(or fish)-and-cheese diet.
I found this “Mediterranean Diet Pyramid” by way of the US News Best Diets article:
Here’s what Oldways, the originator of this pyramid said about the diet:
Oldways, the Harvard School of Public Health, and the European Office of the World Health Organization introduced the classic Mediterranean Diet in 1993 at a conference in Cambridge, MA, along with a Mediterranean Diet Pyramid graphic to represent it visually.
This pyramid continues to be a well-known guide to what is now universally recognized as the “gold standard” eating pattern that promotes lifelong good health. It has been widely used for years by consumers, educators, and health professionals alike to implement healthier eating habits.
The pyramid was created using the most current nutrition research to represent a healthy, traditional Mediterranean diet. It was based on the dietary traditions of Crete, Greece and southern Italy circa 1960 at a time when the rates of chronic disease among populations there were among the lowest in the world, and adult life expectancy was among the highest even though medical services were limited.
The key to this longevity is a diet that successfully resisted the last 50 years of “modernizing” foods and drinks in industrialized countries. These modern trends led to more meat (mostly beef) and other animal products, fewer fresh fruits and vegetables, and more processed convenience foods. Ironically, this diet of “prosperity” was responsible for burgeoning rates of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.
The “poor” diet of the people of the southern Mediterranean, consisting mainly of fruits and vegetables, beans and nuts, healthy grains, fish, olive oil, small amounts of dairy, and red wine, proved to be much more likely to lead to lifelong good health. Other vital elements of the Mediterranean Diet are daily exercise, sharing meals with others, and fostering a deep appreciation for the pleasures of eating healthy and delicious foods.