A common Mediterranean diet usually uses olive oil instead of butter, has its own unique herbal flavoring blends, and has methods of combining foods in ways Americans have never thought of doing. However, when you consider the core concepts of a Mediterranean diet, you will find that it is not much different than most nutritional counseling people hear through health agencies like the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society. Organizations like the ones mentioned have developed their own food guides and pyramids in order to recommend improved dieting to the general public. If you want to know how the Mediterranean diet correlates with the guides proposed by these types of organizations, then you need to take a look at the major food guidelines commonly available to our society. Here is some of the nutritional information recommended by some of the more well known nutritional agencies.
The American Heart Association (AHA) has been dedicated to advocating a heart conscious diet for many years, starting with their 1970s cookbook and now having their own very informative website. In 1957, the AHA proposed that reducing one’s fat out of the daily diet would significantly reduce heart disease, which was becoming a common cause of disability and death in the United States and all developed countries. The AHA is regularly providing evidence on the correlation between a poor diet and the onset of coronary heart disease, and they are constantly revising and updating their stand on this claim whenever there is a public need to extend their research.
So far, the AHA has been unanimous in saying the excessive consumption of fats (like saturated fat) causes the risk for coronary heart disease to rise. To help promote this stance against increasing coronary heart disease rates, the AHA has proposed a dietary plan promoting a heart conscious diet with healthy foods. In 1989, the AHA met with nine other health and government organizations to discuss the latest trends in heart health, and they all concluded that changes in the American diet could help to either keep or improve the health of most people in the United States.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) states that almost 500,000 people die each year from cancer in the United States, and a third of those deaths are related to poor diets. Because of this, the ACS has created their own dietary guide as a solution to preventing a third of the cancer-related deaths. The ACS healthy diet—when combined with exercise and other healthy activities—was definitely a good solution for decreasing cancer rates. This diet, created in 1996 and seconded in 1998 by the ACS Advisory Group on Diet, Physical Activity, and Cancer Nutrition, and Cancer Prevention, is closely aligned with the Mediterranean diet, which promotes large portions of plant foods, limited high-fat content foods, and a balance between exercise and consumed calories.