Apparently, the diet is made up of lots of fruit and vegetables; whole grains; nuts; seafood and lashings of olive oil. Sorry, but this is a fantasy. For one thing, there are many island communities who eat very little fruit and veg, as they have minimal crop land available. Whole grains? That’s the biggest joke - you’ll struggle to find a whole-grain pizza or pasta anywhere along the Italian coast (and thank God because whole-grain pasta is disgusting and quite pointless). Low-fat anything in these parts? Not likely. Generous amounts of fatty meat, full-fat dairy and eggs? Often.
Olive oil, yes usually, but so what? It’s never been shown as a source of greater health (association is absolutely not causation). Fruit and vegetables? Sure, but nothing to write home – or a piece of research – about.
The question is, why promote that particular fantasy? Why fixate on the Mediterranean? Are people in these areas actually living longer or suffering less disease? That’s a story for another day and the answers don’t lie in a bowl of ratatouille.
If it makes you feel happier to follow what you believe is a Mediterranean diet, then that might be a solid reason to do so - the presence of fewer stress hormones and more happy hormones is one of the greatest predictors of health and longevity. Just don’t go buying their line about low fat or whole grains being the answer to anything at all.
Check out Sicilian Godmother for a nicely un-PC take on real Sicilian eating. And definitely peruse the always great Zoe Harcombe. For a less mainstream, but more scientific, approach to whole grains, see Gary Taubes.