Who discovered the Mediterranean Diet?

Who discovered the Mediterranean Diet?

Last modified on 2024-05-26 11:06:56 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Updated on March 12, 2017

March 12, 2017
Dr. Ancel Keys discovered the Mediterranean Diet and its benefits
Posted by Updated on March 12, 2017

Dr. Ancel Keys, who discovered the Mediterranean Diet

Dr. Ancel Keys, who discovered the Mediterranean Diet

(Photo: Front Page of Times: Dr. Ancel Keys, father of the Mediterranean Diet)

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To FAQ 1. ¿Who invented the Mediterranean Diet?


FAQ 2. Who discovered the Mediterranean Diet?

Dr. Ancel Keys was who discovered the Mediterranean Diet. He worked at the School of Public Health of the University of Minnesota, and published in 1970 the results of an important study developed in seven countries in which he analyzed the role of the diet in the cardiovascular diseases, establishing the bases of what would be later the Mediterranean Diet.

The research was carried out with more than 12,000 men of Finland, Greece, Italy, Japan, Holland, the United States and Yugoslavia. There were high correlations between the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet of the people, their cholesterol levels and its percentage of death from cardiovascular diseases. Of these seven nations, the United States and Finland had the highest animal product consumption, the highest saturated fat intake, the highest cholesterol consumption and the highest percentage of death from cardiovascular diseases. On the contrary, the Mediterranean countries and Japan were in the opposite pole.

Dr. Keys, who discovered the Mediterranean Diet, in Madrid.

Before that, in 1952, invited by Dr. Carlos Jiménez Díaz, Dr. Keys had spent some time in Madrid. In that one occasion was lodged in the Residence of Students and, with some important collaborators, among which was Grande Covián, developed a first study relating the diet (still was not known as Mediterranean Diet) and the values of cholesterol in the blood. It carried out an analysis between the inhabitants of Vallecas and Cuatro Caminos (two Madrid districts).

The citizens of these districts almost did not drink milk nor consumed meat or butter, and they had the lowest values of cholesterol in the area, presenting – in addition – very low incidences of coronary cardiopathies. The inhabitants of the district of Salamanca, nevertheless, with a much more rich diet in saturated fat, had much higher values of cholesterol. And among them, the cases of myocardium infarct were much more frequent. In Naples he carried out observations with similar results.

The Seven Countries Study.

Coming back to the famous” The Seven Countries Study”, one of the most important discoveries was that the inhabitants of Crete, which obtained more from 40% of his calories from fat consumption, displayed the lowest cholesterol index and associated diseases.  In the Greek island, the percentage of deaths for this reason was 57 times smaller than in Finland. That is what would give later name to the Mediterranean Diet.

Most of the Greek fat intakes proceed from olive oil and olives and, the rest, from cereals, vegetables and generally “blue fish”, with something of meat and derivatives. In addition, they drank wine every day. This is the genuine Mediterranean Diet, almost identical to the diet of many others Mediterranean countries at that time.

Japan was the second country with lower index of deaths from cardiovascular diseases, due to a large extent to a diet with great amounts of fish,  Anyway, the negative aspect was that they had a high rate of deaths by cerebral hemorrhage. The same phenomenon presented some ethnic groups, like the Eskimos.

FAQ 3. Who gave name to the Mediterranean Diet?

In 1993, the Oldways organization, the Harvard School of Public Health and the World Health Organization introduced the concept of Mediterranean Diet, in a conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts and defined it as “a delicious, pleasurable, and very healthful way to eat” (Oldways).

Olways leaded the project and created as well the famous and wide world know Mediterranean Diet Pyramid. Its most important feature is all plant foods are grouped together to highlight the health benefits that they grant.

Later and the in the same decade (about 1950), Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard University’s School of Public Health promoted the Mediterranean Diet explaining it in a very understandable way.

Hereafter, the Mediterranean Diet became world-wide known as a heart protector and long life dietary pattern.

Recently has been discovered some other benefits of The Mediterranean Diet in other diseases as cancer, Alzheimer, asthma, hyperglycemia, etc.  It is also an excellent source of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory products.

Who invented the Mediterranean Diet?

Who invented the Mediterranean Diet?

Last modified on 2024-05-26 11:11:43 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Updated on March 14, 2017

March 14, 2017
Who invented the Mediterranean Diet? Nobody did
Posted by Updated on March 14, 2017

Mediterranean Diet Bread

Through the keyword analysis I have been collecting the most frequent questions and doubts about Mediterranean Diet.  I’ll try to clarify the most commonly detected. The Mediterranean Diet Loss Weight Plan is now in the previous post. You can find it at the right column or go to Mediterranean Diet Loss Weight Plan. Later, I’ll put the plan in a permanent page so that it can be viewed easily.

Mediterranean Diet FAQ’s

1) Who invented the Mediterranean Diet?

Nobody did. It has been existing for thousands of years in spite of that nobody in the Mediterranean Basin knew t its name and how important it was for Humanity. Everybody knows that the World is divided in three types of Food Civilizations. The Corn, the Rice and the Wheat Civilizations. The Mediterranean Diet is inserted clearly in the last one. The Corn was domesticated in Mesoamerica. Consequently, it was not known until XV Century.  Rice was consumed more in East countries and in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nowadays, three grain are eaten all over the World. The Spanish more known dish, Paella, is made out of rice.

We have to clarify that until less than a century, in the Mediterranean Region was not possible to have refined wheat flour. The bread was made with ground wheat after separating most of the coarse bran. We had the flour with the wheat germ and a small percentage of that bran. Today, what you get as “integral bread” is 99,99 % made out of a mixture of refined flour and bran, with no wheat germ at all.  Some medical tests have proved some relation between bran and osteoporosis, as Bran decreases the gastro-intestinal absorption of calcium.

Concerning the simple sugars, The Mediterranean Diet had honey (organic honey*) as its mainly sweetener. Everybody knows the properties of this natural food. Mediterranean sweets were made out of it (and most of them still are in genuine Mediterranean homes). Its consumption did not produce obesity, due to the low percentage of these products in the Mediterranean Diet and the intense and/or continue physical activity of the people.

The potato was introduced to Europe in the middle of the XVI Century by European mariners. So it didn’t belong to the original Mediterranean Diet. Later, it was added to the daily diet without any problem, as its source of starch was needed to provide a clean energy to the working body, as all carbohydrates do.

Bread, either leavened or unleavened,  can be traced to prehistoric times. The discovery of leavened bread could probably be due to an accident.  Yeast spores mixed with the dough and produced fermentation. Until 19th Century,  all leavened bread used to have a sour taste, not coming from the yeast, but from the lactic acid excreted by a lactobacillus that lives in symbiosis which the yeast. This lactic acid protected the bread from spoiling as most microorganism cannot survive in an acid environment. Today, the lactobacillus has been removed except for the “sour bread“. Nowadays, you have unleavened bread in Mediterranean Diet. An example is the “Feast of Unleavened Bread in Israel”, a millenarian tradition.

Sourdough bread (original Mediterranean Diet leavened bread) is made without commercial yeast. It was the way that leavened bread was done for thousands and thousands of years before you could buy a packet of yeast. You have to make  an “starter” , in which the wild yeast will grow with the lactobacillus and then mix a part of this fermented started with flour, water and salt, to produce bread after a few hours of fermentation. It is not easy to make the started from scratch but you can try mixing whole grain flour with natural pineapple juice , and add every day more juice and more flour. At the fourth day you mix it (or a part of it) with the same volume of water and the same volume of flour (1/3+1/3+1/3). At the fifth day, you repeat the process until you see bubbles and smell yeast. As it is a natural process you may have to try it several times, as it happened at the beginning of the times. Better, buy the starter if you are in a hurry.

Anyway there is something that made the Mediterranean Diet unique and a World Heritage: The olive tree ((Olea europaea). A native species of the Mediterranean Region.

*According to USDA regulations, labelled organic honey cannot  contents even traces of not allowed chemicals, drugs or any type of antibiotics.


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