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The Mediterranean diet: Does it have to cost more?

Completed
Public Health
Drewnowski A, Eichelsdoerfer P

Objective

To test the viability of the Mediterranean diet as an affordable low-energy-density model for dietary change.

Design

Foods characteristic of the Mediterranean diet were identified using previously published criteria. For these foods, energy density (kJ/100 g) and nutrient density in relation to both energy ($/MJ) and nutrient cost were examined.

Results

Some nutrient-rich low-energy-density foods associated with the Mediterranean diet were expensive, however, others that also fit within the Mediterranean dietary pattern were not.

Conclusions

The Mediterranean diet provides a socially acceptable framework for the inclusion of grains, pulses, legumes, nuts, vegetables and both fresh and dried fruit into a nutrient-rich everyday diet. The precise balance between good nutrition, affordability and acceptable social norms is an area that deserves further study. The new Mediterranean diet can be a valuable tool in helping to stem the global obesity epidemic.