Mediterranean food pyramid: composition and consumption
Mediterranean diet habits
Mediterranean diet, health, food pyramid, composition, recommended consumption, healthy diet, disease prevention, olive oil
The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional cuisines of Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and other countries of the Mediterranean Sea. In the MD pyramid healthy habits predominate comparing with other food pyramid s (SENC, 2020): the importance of family meals at the table and sharing conversations, and the use of traditional and local products, sustainable with the environment. Hydration is one of the most important habits to consider. The consumption of water, between 1.5 and 2 liters per day, depends on the hydric needs of each person. The consumption of wine predominate versus other fermented beverages. Extra virgin olive oil is the core of the diet. Therefore, it is located in a central position of the pyramid, being the main source of lipids. The MD pyramid advises that vegetables and fresh fruits should be consumed in abundance, at least 5 serving (s) at day and it reduces the source of carbohydrates (1-2s) (bread, pasta, and rice preferably in their integral version). The use of garlic and onion is highlighted, along with spices and nuts (1-2s). Consume milk products as yogurt and cheese every day, better with low fat. Eat fish in abundance (>2s) and eggs in moderation (2-4s). Red meat, sweets and cakes should be consumed only on occasion (<2s).
The MD pyramid is a tool for education and public health. It has different levels, where is shown in a graphic and in a simple way, the foods to be consumed and its frequency. The MD pyramid is adapted to the local and traditional food of the countries with this culture and habits. The recommendations of this pyramid reinforce the benefits of the Mediterranean diet such as the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, Alzheimer disease, depression, and asthma. Mediterranean Diet is not only a food diet by itself, but a lifestyle that combines sociability, culinary technology, physical activity, along with proportion and frequency recommendations of food consumption.
Fruit, vegetables, breads, garlic, onion, nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil, cheese and yogurt.
The MD pyramid has more than 10 years, the information should be updated. Furthermore, the top of the pyramid should be removed, although the consumption of the products laid on the top is occasional, they are included and endorsed by the MD pyramid, a graphic without a top should be more realistic.
Another risk of the food pyramid could be misinterpretation. It is a graphic representation with specific symbols and numbers of recommended daily portions. Some authors proposed other forms of graphical representation as food wheel or the plate.