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Monday, August 4, 2008


The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation has reported that people in Spain and southern Europe generally are getting fatter. The blame is being laid on the abandonment of the traditional Mediterranean diet in favour of calorie-laden food.

In the 40 years to 2002, daily calorie intake in countries including Spain, Greece and Italy has increased by 30 per cent that is more than the 20 per cent recorded in northern EU countries.

Greece, which should perhaps now be spelt Grease, is the EU country with the highest proportion of overweight and obese people at 75 per cent. Trundling along behind are Italians, Spanish and Portuguese where over 50 per cent of the populations are overweight too. However the country that registered the most dramatic increase in the use of fat was Spain, where fat made up just 25 per cent of the diet 40 years ago but now accounts for 40 per cent.

The report says the typical Mediterranean diet based on olive oil, fish and vegetables is declining in the Middle East and North Africa, where eating habits are changing and calorie intake increasing.

The FAO senior economist, Josef Schmidhuber, reported that as Mediterranean people get wealthier they have used their higher incomes to add a large number of calories from meat and fats to a diet that was traditionally light on animal proteins. He added that what they now eat is “too fat, too salty and too sweet.”

Those who remember Spain and the other Med countries decades ago know just how widespread abject poverty was – but those who survived were healthy! Now we are all that much wealthier – Grease is the word!

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