Oldways, a food think tank, has been promoting the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet for over a decade, has created a stamp to help us choose healthy foods that meet their standards. While the diet is not a formal lose weight "diet", like the Atkins or the Pritikin Diet, it is more of a food philosophy and a food culture. Nobody "owns" the Mediterranean diet, and since Oldways is a non-profit organization, they are not seeking to make money off the Med Marked products you buy. They simply created the Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid a few years back to work as a guide in meal planning - that is the diet.
Although manufacturers pay Oldways a fee to place the Med Mark on their products, the stamp ensures that the product bearing it meets the following standards:
- Contain no trans fat
- Limit saturated fat to 8 percent of total calories
- Limit sodium to 480 milligrams for an individual food or 600 milligrams for meal-type products
- Keep added sugars to four grams, or about one teaspoon
The easy-to-identify symbol, of an amphora (the pottery jug used for 3,000 years by all Mediterranean cultures to store and ship their foods and drinks) comes at a time when nutritionists and other health experts are praising the Mediterranean diet as the “gold standard” of healthy eating. Research on this way of eating has linked the foods to decreased risks of heart disease, cancer, lung conditions, Alzheimer’s, allergies and asthma.
Look for the stamp at your next outing to the grocery store; it is about the size of a postage stamp.