Updated on February 28th, 2017
Spain and Portugal map: The atlantic diet, in the north west
The Atlantic Diet is a complete artificial concept. Portugal and part of the Spanish coast border with the Atlantic Ocean. In some ways, they share the nutritional habits of the Mediterranean part of the Iberian Peninsula. Due to the popularization of the Mediterranean Diet, they wanted to coin a new mark, Atlantic Diet, including countries as Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Portugal and the same Spain. (They could have as well included in the Atlantic Diet countries as USA, Canada, Mexico and the rest of all the Atlantic border countries including African ones, without breaking the inexistent similarity between the eating habits of the CEDA (Centro Europeu da Dieta Atlântica), Atlantic Diet founders.
The Atlantic Diet, a marketing operation
With the Atlantic Diet they have created a not very well understood theoretical diet, taking most part of the Mediterranean Diet, but changing the low proportion of meat it has for more fish. The Atlantic Diet cannot be considered a dietary pattern either in Portugal or Spain. Even the Atkins Diet (being a very dangerous diet) has more followers than this diet. It is a marketing operation without much success.
Anyway, we have to say that the Atlantic Diet (mainly fish, vegetables and olive oil) has doubtless health benefits. It is a good diet, but not a millenarian cultural diet.
I live you a document from Escola Superior de Tecnologia e Gestao, Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo, about Atlantic Diet
A pleasure for senses
Nevertheless, we can’t deny that this diet is very healthy and safe. Fruits, vegetables, food and seafood are its main features. Meat is scarce in the promoted diet, but not so limited in real life. Products are excellent and the regional gastronomy is an important tourist attraction. Seafood is considered to the the best in Spain.
Olive oil is used almost for everything in Spain and Portugal. Meals are also accompanied by moderate intake of red wine. Dairy products, cereals and nuts are present as well. For these reasons, the so called Atlantic diet contains all the necessary ingredients to be a recommended nutrition pattern and to prevent cardiovascular diseases.
Traditionally, the gastronomic culture of the different atlantic regions has been given by the local products that were cultivated or obtained in that area. This pattern has for centuries accompanied the lifestyle of some countries, especially Spain (specifically Galicia, Cantabria and Basque Country), and Portugal. French Brittany and the United Kingdom (specifically the Cornwall, Wales, Scotland and Ireland), who also claim to follow this nutrition model, have many other food that interfere with it.
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