Food patterns and Mediterranean diet in western and eastern Mediterranean islands

Dora Romaguera, Christina Bamia, Antoni Pons, Josep A Tur, Antonia Trichopoulou
Public Health Nutrition 2009, 12 (8): 1174-81

OBJECTIVE: To assess current Mediterranean dietary patterns (MDP) in the western and eastern Mediterranean, i.e. in Balearic islanders (BI) and Greek islanders (GI).

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Dietary patterns were assessed using FFQ on a representative sample (n 1200) of the BI and GI (n 1324) adult population. A Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS) was calculated according to the consumption of nine MDP components: (i) with a beneficial effect on health, i.e. vegetables, fruits and nuts, cereals, legumes, fish and shellfish, MUFA:SFA ratio, and moderate alcohol consumption; and (ii) with a detrimental effect on health, i.e. meat and meat products, and milk and dairy products. Persons with consumption of beneficial components below the median (GI plus BI) received a value of 0 and those with consumption above the median a value of 1. Persons with below-median consumption of detrimental components received a value of 1 and above-median consumption a value of 0. For alcohol, a value of 1 was given to consumptions of 10-50 g/d (men) and 5-25 g/d (women). The range of the MDS was 0-9, with higher scores indicating greater adherence to the MDP.

RESULTS: GI showed higher adherence (mean MDS 5.12 (sd 1.42)) to the MDP than BI (mean MDS 3.32 (sd 1.23)). BI diet was characterized by a high intake of legumes, nuts, seed oils, sugar and confectionery, and non-alcoholic beverages compared with GI, whereas GI diet was richer in fruit, vegetables, potatoes, olive oil, animal products and alcoholic beverages.

CONCLUSIONS: The GI diet seems closer to the traditional MDP than the BI diet.

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