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The ModiMed diet is a modified version of the traditional mediterranean diet.

Modified Mediterranean diet

The SMILES trial used the ModiMed diet, based on the traditional Mediterranean diet.

The traditional Mediterranean diet is one of the most researched dietary styles, consistently demonstrating numerous health benefits, including an association with a reduced risk of depression.

Developing the ModiMed diet

ModiMed diet was guided by the PREDIMED study, which examined the links between the Mediterranean diet and health. The ModiMed diet also used recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Adults in Greece, and the Australian Guidelines to Healthy Eating to make the diet relevant and easy to maintain for Australian participants.

As the study took place in Australia, traditional Australian food products, such as Australian versions of wholegrain cereals or kangaroo meat, were included in the recommendations.

Modifying the traditional Mediterranean diet

The ModiMed diet included a slightly higher intake of red meat than traditional Mediterranean diets. This amendment was due to the previous research indicating that:

  1. red meat is considered a great source of dietary iron for females in Australia; and
  2. low or high consumption of red meat is associated with adverse mental health outcomes.

However, the content of the ModiMed diet closely matched the traditional Mediterranean-style diets.

The ModiMed diet pyramid

The ModiMed diet was based on 12 food groups. The diagram below demonstrates the proportion in which each of the food groups was recommended for consumption. We will have a close look at the number of serves and serve sizes for each group in the next step.

The Mod*i*Med diet pyramid infographic
The ModiMed diet features a wide variety of foods. Adapted from Opie, et al. (2017). © Deakin University

The ModiMed diet provides approximately 11,000kJ (around 2,600kCal) of energy per day. Like the traditional Mediterranean diet, the ModiMed delivered a moderate amount of protein (about 18% of energy) and carbohydrates (approximately 36% of energy).

The diet was relatively high in fat (approximately 40% of energy); however, the majority of this (>50%) was monounsaturated fats from olive oil.

The diet was high in dietary fibre (around 50g of fibre per day – most Australians eat 20-25g per day) and other micronutrients due to its high intake of vegetables and fruit (over 700g and 400g per day, respectively).

The diet met almost all of the recommended and adequate intake of vitamins and nutrients recommended for adults and provided enough food for satiety. Still, it urged participants to restrict ‘extras’ – highly processed, salty or sugary foods.

Your task

Consider the main advantages of a modified approach to traditional diets.

How does the modification of a dietary style or recommendations fit within the concept of personalised nutrition we discussed in Week 2?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

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This article is from the free online course:

Food and Mood: Improving Mental Health Through Diet and Nutrition

Deakin University