The Future of Food: High-Level Event on the Mediterranean Diet
FAO Headquarters, 11 June 2019, Rome – Italy
|Treasuring the cultural and heritage dimensions of the Mediterranean diet
Our current food systems are challenged to deliver on the healthy diets needed for optimal health, and thus the global call for food systems transformation.
Poor diets have become a major contributor to disease and death. While nutrition is in transition all over the world, climate change and biodiversity loss are seriously undermining our ability to feed and nourish an ever-growing global population.
The Mediterranean Diet was declared in 2013 as the World’s Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. According to UNESCO, "the Mediterranean diet is a set of traditional practices, knowledge and skills passed on from generation to generation and providing a sense of belonging and continuity to the concerned communities."
Breaking bread together...There are lessons to learn from the Mediterranean diet. It is a diet that is characterized by high consumption of vegetables, fruits and legumes, moderate amounts of dairy products, low to moderate amounts of seafood and poultry, low amounts of red meat, and olive oil as the main type of added fat. It’s also linked to the original Greek concept of diaita – “way of life”. The practice of “breaking bread together” has deep Mediterranean roots and evokes the peace-making and solidarity-building powers of sharing food security with others. It is, without any doubt, a critical skill within a region that has been a crossroads of culture for millennia. Through a large body of research, the Mediterranean diet has been widely recognized as a healthy dietary pattern linked to better health outcomes. The Mediterranean region offers an example of a diet where food production and consumption are interlinked to produce multiple benefits in terms of health and sustainability. Unfortunately, the Mediterranean diet is being eroded in its region of birth. Factors such as urbanization, increased availability of prepared and processed foods as well as mobility and migration are exerting pressure on traditional diets in the Mediterranean region. Other traditional diets around the world are also under pressure. In our quest for healthy diets, the Mediterranean diet represents a dietary pattern to learn from in terms of sustainable production and consumption. Source FAO