It is difficult to find the moment when the idea for a book is first born. For this book, the basic concept was probably born during conversations I had in Parma, Italy, with Dr. Riccardi of the University of Naples and Dr. Jenkins of the University of Toronto (Canada). Later, in a conference room at the University of Verona (Italy) School of Medicine, I had a day-long meeting with Drs. Bosello and Cominacini of the University of Verona, and Drs. Jenkins and Riccardi and their co-workers. After an intense working day, the general plan of this book was completed. The title Mediterranean diets rather than diet was appropriately cho- sen as there is more than one Mediterranean diet, a point discussed in chapter 1. This chapter focuses on the definition of a Mediterranean diet and no matter what the reader's interest may be, it is imperative that this first chapter be carefully read. We should always remember that there are-from a preventive medi- cine point of view-good and poor Mediterranean diets.
The best exam- ple is probably the difference between the high olive oil, high carbohy- drate, low meat diet of southern Italy and the high saturated fat, higher meat diets of the northern Italians. Prevalence of disease parallels these differences. Chapter 2 covers some ancient history in an easy-to-read manner that is instructional as well as fascinating even for the nonmedical scientist or the nonhistorian.
I: Overview and History.- 1. Comparison of Current Eating Habits in Various Mediterranean Countries.- Mediterranean Diet: Myth or Reality?.- Comparison Between the Present-Day Diet in Mediterranean Countries and Current Dietary Recommendations for CHD Prevention.- 2. Ancient Mediterranean Food.- The Evidence.- Cereals.- Fruit.- II: Typical Mediterranean Foods and Their Physiology.- 3. Cereal Foods: Wheat, Corn, Rice, Barley, and Other Cereals and Their Products.- General Characteristics of Cereals.- Wheat.- Rice.- Corn.- Barley.- Oats.- 4. Legumes.- Production and Consumption.- Chemical Composition and Nutritive Value.- Toxic Substances.- Legumes in the Diet.- 5. Vegetables and Fruits.- Fruit and Vegetable Consumption.- Classification and Technology of Fruits and Vegetables.- Diet and Nutrition.- 6. Edible Fats and Oils.- Fats and Oils Consumed in Italy and in Other Mediterranean Countries.- Technologies.- 7. Dairy Products.- Statistical Data.- Technology.- Dairy Microbiology and Hygiene.- Nutrition and Diet.- 8. Grains, Legumes, Fruits, and Vegetables: Lente Carbohydrate Sources in the Mediterranean Diet.- Physiological Effects of Slow Release Carbohydrate Foods.- Effects of Individual Foods.- 9. Physiological Effects of Monounsaturated Oils.- Olive Oil Studies.- Olive and Peanut Oil Studies.- Almond Studies.- Canola Oil Study.- III: Clinical Aspects and Epidemiology.- 10. Lipids.- Epidemiology.- Mediterranean Diet Characteristics and EURATOM Study Results.- Effects of Dietary Carbohydrates on Plasma Lipids.- Effects of Dietary Fats on Plasma Lipids.- Effects of Dietary Proteins on Plasma Lipids.- Effects of Dietary Fibers on Plasma Lipids.- 11. Hypertension.- Epidemiological Aspects.- Intervention Studies.- Experimental Studies.- 12. Cardiovascular Diseases.- Early Hospital Observations.- Mortality Data.- The Seven Countries Study.- Recent Trends.- Intervention.- 13. Obesity.- Epidemiology: Prevalence of Obesity.- Influence of Various Nutrients in Energy Balance.- Comparison of Dietary Habits in Different Countries.- Intervention.- 14. Diabetes.- Epidemiology.- Intervention.- 15. Diet and Cancer.- Summary of Knowledge.- Characteristics of Mediterranean Diet.- Gastric Cancer and Diet in Italy.- A Case-Control Surveillance Study in Northern Italy.