"'The Mediterranean diet was always a composite. Spaniards love pork; Egyptians, as a rule, do not. In some regions, people made pesto with lard, not olive oil. 'There is no such thing called the Mediterranean diet; there are Mediterranean diets,' says Rami Zurayk, an agriculture professor at the American University in Beirut. 'They share some commonalities — there is a lot of fruits and vegetables, there is a lot of fresh produce in them, they are eaten in small dishes, there is less meat in them. These are common characteristics, but there are many different Mediterranean diets.'" So when experts tell us to eat the Mediterranean Diet, they're telling us to select from a broad cornucopia of foods considered traditional foods from the many lands and cultures around the Mediterranean Sea.
Another observation is that nobody in Italy or Greece eats from the traditional Mediterranean Diet. Instead, young Italians and Greeks, like young Lebanese, eat from modern foods, which is mostly processed or refined, full of bad carbs and bad fats, and low in nutrition. And young people around the Mediterranean Sea are showing it with increased rates of obesity and chronic diseases.
The writer's last observation is that the Mediterranean Diet as we think of it today is based on il cibo povero, or poor man's food. The first studies that led to the development of the Mediterranean Diet were done on south Europeans who lived in the aftermath of WWII. Like most of Europe, these areas were devastated by war and impoverished. Foods like red meat was scarce and thus expensive, and even sugar was rationed.
In the ensuing decade, these same people in southern Europe became richer and demanded higher-quality "Western" food. All the while, as they adopted modern foods, researchers began to learn that there was a lot of good things about their traditional diets.