Mark Bittman: Mediterranean Diet Not The Only Answer

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Mark Bittman is a longtime food writer for The New York Times. (
Mark Bittman is a longtime food writer for The New York Times. (Sally Stein)

Longtime food writer Mark Bittman has a simple takeaway from the study released this week on the Mediterranean diet: "Eating well is not deprivational, it's delicious."

Experts are praising the rigor of the five-year study, and the results were so dramatically clear that ethical rules demanded that it end early.

Bittman says that nevertheless, we should not get carried away - this study does not represent "The Answer" to what we should eat.

It also does not give us deep insight into questions like, "Is red meat just bad for us, or does that have to do with the way in which most cattle are now raised?" And, "Is wine good for us just because it tends to be consumed as part of a leisurely meal with family or friends?"

What the study shows, Bittman said, is that the Mediterranean diet is better than the horrible diet most of us eat.

On the good news side, even modest changes in the normal American diet are likely to have real health benefits.

But there is nothing new about the the essential information, Bittman said. The Mediterranean diet "prohibits nothing that was recognized as food by your great-grandmother. Whole minimally processed foods of almost any type can be included in a sound diet. Period."

And the bottom line: Stop worrying about the exact servings of beans.

"Healthful food is delicious food, traditional food, real food," he said.

Pieces by Mark Bittman:


This segment aired on March 1, 2013.


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