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Thursday, May 16, 2013

The End of Diets

1) a specific allowance or selection of food, esp prescribed to control weight or in disorders in which certain foods are contraindicated: a salt-free diet, a 900-calorie diet

2) the food and drink that a person or animal regularly consumes

Etymology: 13th Century: from Old French diete, from Latin diaeta, from Greek diaita mode of living, from diaitan to direct one's own life

With the New England Journal of Medicine’s report on the primary prevention of cardio vascular disease with a Mediterranean diet I think that Americans will look at the above definitions of diet and choose the second which is closer to the ancient Greek word meaning “way of life.” What we eat shouldn’t be dictated by a fad because the last time I checked we need to eat almost every day until we die. If you stop eating you’ll die a lot sooner, I can guarantee you.

In short the study says this: About 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in people at high risk if they switch to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables, and even drink wine with meals.

The Mediterranean Diet is a “fad” that probably started about 3,000 years ago in this part of the world and has never gone out of style.  This diet (of the #2 variety) has been what people have eaten in this region since people have lived in this region. They don’t eat the food they eat because they’re trying to lose a few extra kilos or because they are worried about heart disease; they eat it because it is the best food available to them. The traditions surrounding what people eat here have been carefully protected and passed down from generation to generation.

One of the major components of the Mediterranean Diet, perhaps the cornerstone, is olive oil.  It would be very difficult to overestimate the importance of olive oil in the diet of most of the people living on or near the Mediterranean Sea.

When I say that the Mediterranean Diet is the end of diets I don’t mean that people will stop dieting. At this moment I am restricting my caloric intake in an effort to shed a kilo or two as summer nears. What I don’t have to do is search the bookstores for a new fad diet to help me achieve my goal. I will eat the same food I always eat, just less of it.

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