Open Access Highly Accessed Forum

Definitions and potential health benefits of the Mediterranean diet: views from experts around the world

Antonia Trichopoulou1, Miguel A Martínez-González23, Tammy YN Tong4, Nita G Forouhi4, Shweta Khandelwal5, Dorairaj Prabhakaran5, Dariush Mozaffarian6 and Michel de Lorgeril7

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, School of Medicine, University of Athens, Greece; Hellenic Health Foundation, Athens, Greece

2 Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, School of Medicine, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain

3 CIBER-OBN, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain

4 MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Box 285 Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK

5 Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), New Delhi; Centre for Chronic Disease Control (CCDC), New Delhi, India

6 Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA

7 Laboratoire TIMC-IMAG, CNRS UMR 5525, PRETA Cœur & Nutrition, and Faculté de Médecine, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Medicine 2014, 12:112  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-12-112

All correspondence should be made to the journal editorial office:

Published: 24 July 2014


The Mediterranean diet has been linked to a number of health benefits, including reduced mortality risk and lower incidence of cardiovascular disease. Definitions of the Mediterranean diet vary across some settings, and scores are increasingly being employed to define Mediterranean diet adherence in epidemiological studies. Some components of the Mediterranean diet overlap with other healthy dietary patterns, whereas other aspects are unique to the Mediterranean diet. In this forum article, we asked clinicians and researchers with an interest in the effect of diet on health to describe what constitutes a Mediterranean diet in different geographical settings, and how we can study the health benefits of this dietary pattern.