Mediterranean Diet Pyramid: A Proposal for Italian People. A Systematic Review of Prospective Studies to Derive Serving Sizes

Nutrients. 2019 Jun 7;11(6):1296. doi: 10.3390/nu11061296.


In the last decade, a number of meta-analyses of mostly observational studies evaluated the relation between the intake of food groups and the risk of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). In this study, we systematically reviewed dose-response meta-analyses of prospective studies with the aim to derive the quantities of food to consume to attain a protective (Mediterranean food) or a non-adverse (non-Mediterranean food) effect toward selected NCDs such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) including coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke, type 2 diabetes (T2DM), colorectal (CRC) and breast cancer. These derived quantities, wherever possible, were suggested for a quantification of food servings of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid proposed for Italian People (MDPPI). This pyramid came from the Modern Mediterranean Diet Pyramid developed in 2009 for Italian people. A weekly menu plan was built on the advice about frequency of intakes and serving sizes of such pyramid and the nutritional composition of this diet was compared with the Reference Italian Mediterranean Diet followed in 1960 in Nicotera. The diet built according the advice of MDPPI was very similar to that of Nicotera in the late 1950s that has been chosen as Italian Reference Mediterranean Diet with the exception of percentage of energy provided by cereals that was lower and of fruits and vegetables that was higher. Saturated fatty acids were only the 6% of daily energy intake. Also the Mediterranean Adequacy Index (MAI) was very similar to that of the aforementioned diet.

Keywords: Mediterranean diet; Mediterranean diet pyramid.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Noncommunicable Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Serving Size*