Mediterranean Mix Is Healthy, Fresh, & Attracting Americans
Copyright 1994 The Chicago Tribune
From Knight-Ridder Newspapers/Tribune Information Services
Selected and Prepared by Tribune Media Services
Eating the Mediterranean way is a very attractive concept to many: Shopping among
baskets of fresh vegetables and grains, glistening tuna and sea bass just off the boat,
displays of feta and mozzarella and homemade yogurt; eating freshly baked, crusty
bread, bowls of pasta and rice of every combination, perfectly ripe fruit.
Imagine all this lubricated with flavorful olive oil from 1,000-year-old trees and
washed down with a glass or two of fragrant wine. Add to that the image of gentle
winds, a cloudless sky and terrace dining in southern France or Italy, and you have a
very appealing lifestyle as well.
Suppose that this way of eating also held the promise of less risk of heart attack and
heightened resistance to certain types of cancer. Well, since the early 1960s, a growing
number of nutrition experts have been linking the robust health of Mediterranean
males to a diet that's high in complex carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, grains and
legumes; low to moderate in dairy products, fish and poultry; and very low in red meat.
In addition, the main fat is olive oil, sometimes constituting as much as 40 percent of
calories, and wine is consumed frequently with meals.
Though this diet and the research behind it have been questioned by other nutrition
scientists, it is proving increasingly popular in this country. Unlike more restrictive
prescriptions such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which places strict limits on
fat consumption and calls for curbs on alcohol, the Mediterranean diet is thought of as a
freer, more rewarding way of eating.
In addition, articles and a spate of recent cookbooks are extolling the virtues of
Mediterranean cuisine, and several restaurants devoted to its various facets are gaining