March 18, 2013 at 7:00 AM
The Mediterranean diet? Or the Mediterranean lifestyle? It’s not clear
The way we eat affects health
I have to respectfully disagree with Froma Harrop’s reasoning as to why the Mediterranean diet is healthier [“How to live long and prosper is anybody’s guess,” Opinion, March 3]. Harrop mentions how Mediterranean people “live in a communal culture where people know how to relax. There’s no hup-hup-hup, ‘How’s my career going?’ to interfere with digestion.”
I think there are much deeper reasons than how relaxed Mediterranean people are. For example, look at the French diet. The French are notorious for consuming chocolates and wine, and having other seemingly unhealthy eating habits. Yet when we compare the overall cardiovascular health of the French, they also rank healthier than an American on a diet focused on low-fat foods and other dieting alternatives.
The reasoning behind why they are healthier has to do with the amounts they eat, and how they eat. Long, communal meals aren’t healthier because of the culture they’re found in. Rather, the French are healthier because long dinners cause them to eat slower, and to eat smaller portions. When we eat more home-cooked, naturally prepared meals prepared for a sit-down dinner, that’s going to be a two-hour event.
–Seth Nord, Seattle
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