The Mediterranean diet from past to future: Key concepts from the second “Ancel Keys” International Seminar

Gian Luigi Russo*, Alfonso Siani, Vincenzo Fogliano, Johanna M. Geleijnse, Rosalba Giacco, Simona Giampaoli, Licia Iacoviello, Daan Kromhout, Lillà Lionetti, Androniki Naska, Nicoletta Pellegrini, Gabriele Riccardi, Francesco Sofi, Marilena Vitale, Pasquale Strazzullo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The year 2020 celebrated the tenth anniversary of the recognition of the Mediterranean Diet as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee. This event represented a milestone in the history of nutrition, as the Mediterranean diet was the first traditional food practice to receive such award. Since then, a lot has been discussed not only on the beneficial aspects of the Mediterranean diet, but also on its complex role as a lifestyle model that includes a set of skills, knowledge and intercultural dialogue. This process ended up with the recognition in 2019 of Mediterranean diet as a possibly universal model of healthy diet from the EAT-Lancet Commission. These concepts were widely debated at the 2019 “Ancel Keys” International Seminar, held in Ascea (Italy) (for more information see: with the aim to stimulate interest and awareness of a young group of participants on the current problems inherent to the effective implementation of the Mediterranean diet. The present article collects the contributions of several lecturers at the Seminar on key issues such as methodological and experimental approach, sustainability, molecular aspects in disease prevention, future exploitation, without neglecting a historical view of the Seven Countries Study. From the Seminar conclusions emerged a still vibrant and modern role of Mediterranean diet. The years to come will see national and international efforts to reduce the barriers that limit adherence to Mediterranean diet in order to plan for multi-factorial and targeted interventions that would guide our populations to a sustainable healthy living.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-732
JournalNutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2021


  • Agricultural productions
  • Biodiversity
  • Disease prevention
  • Epidemiological research
  • Food health
  • Food traditions
  • Mediterranean diet
  • Sustainability


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