What is the Mediterranean Index


  1. What is the Mediterranean Index
  2. The importance of proper nutrition
  3. How the project was born
  4. How the Mediterranean Index is made

The Mediterranean diet is one of the best known diets in the world, known as a symbol of health and well -being . Precisely this status of excellence has always led it to be strongly imitated and taken as the basis of other diets, not exactly faithful to the original.

To clarify, avoid misunderstandings as much as possible and help people follow it, a group of experts came up with the proposal to set up a new ad hoc food label called the Mediterranean Index.

What is the Mediterranean Index

Also abbreviated with the term Med Index , the Mediterranean Index is a new labeling that would serve to promote the Mediterranean diet but not only.

It was conceived by a research team made up of experts from SIMA, the Italian Society of Environmental Medicine, and from the University of Bari. In an interview with the Journal of Functional Food , the promoters underlined how their intent is to make it a tool able to stimulate as many people as possible to eat healthy and practice regular physical activity consistent with the energy intake of their meals . The label would also have a particular focus on environmental sustainability and would also aim to encourage producers to make food productshealthier and more sustainable.

The importance of proper nutrition

What you eat significantly determines the level of health and well-being of everyone, so promoting a correct way of eating is essential.

One of the ways to do this is to learn how to read the labels of foods that you buy at the supermarket, which are often not easy to decipher.

Sometimes it is difficult to understand if what you are about to put in the cart is a really healthy product and even more so if it respects the environment or has been made in a sustainable way .

The creators of the project to develop the new labeling started from these critical issues and from the desire to make the Mediterranean diet truly usable for everyone, while promoting physical activity.

How the project was born

After a series of studies, the team came to define the characteristics of the Mediterranean Index, making it a complete label capable of making people understand immediately, through clear colors, descriptions and symbols, how to classify products.

During the conception phase, 27 criteria were defined on which to base it, which together satisfy the main criteria of sustainability, namely nutritional, environmental and social ones.

The Med Index is designed as a complete label that can be applied directly by food manufacturers without difficulty and extremely clear to read. Not being based on complicated algorithms but on measurable criteria, in addition to representing an aid for the final consumer, it can be a trump card for those who place such a labeled product on the market, which being included in the perfect Mediterranean diet would acquire prestige and a better positioning.

How the Mediterranean Index is made

In concrete terms, what the creators of this new label propose is the application on the front of the food products of a labeling in the shape of a pyramid , which recalls the graphic model usually used to describe the Mediterranean diet.

The number of standard portions should be indicated at the top of the label , using the graphic representation of a person, replacing the classic grams, considered more difficult to understand.

By standard portion in this case we mean the definition found in the IV revision of the Dietary Reference Values ​​of Nutrients and Energy for the Italian population (LARN), which refers to a quantity of food, recognized as the reference unit of the nutritional sector, of reasonable size.

In the central part of the Mediterranean Index, on the other hand, the caloric intake is specified , also in this case not through standard indicators but expressed as the intensity of the recommended physical activity in order to achieve the balance between ingested and consumed calories . No more numbers, therefore, but behavioral indications aimed at well-being at three hundred and sixty degrees.

The intensity of physical activity is not expressed through absolute or percentage values ​​but classified into three levels: low, of which, for example, slow walking is part; medium or more brisk walking, moderate cycling or other very light effort; and tall like jogging or other exercises like pushups , squats , or situps . The reason for this choice is to avoid creating discomfort in the reader as much as possible.

Finally, the base of the pyramid is where consumers will be able to read the three sustainability criteria in line with the objectives of the Green Deal.

Three smilies corresponding to environmental, nutritional and social criteria will be colored yellow in the case of a moderately positive judgment, positive green and blue of excellence.

As the experts specify, the assignment of colors is based on criteria based on certifiable processes often already implemented by companies and presented in an unclear way on current labels which, if converted to this new model, would therefore make a significant step forward in various points of view. view.

Now the ball goes to the European Commission, which by 2024 will examine a new sustainable labeling framework and decide whether to promote the introduction of the Mediterranean Index.


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