The story of how these scientists, using Keys’ bogus data from Crete (which in and of itself is a unbelievable story), teamed up with what amounted to a PR firm for the olive oil industry to seduce scores of American scientists and food writers is one of more fascinating parts of BFS. It was a perfect storm. The scientists and food writers were ripe to be lured into spending time on the Mediterranean coast, imbibing wine and eating the food. These all expense paid trips were ostensibly medical conferences, but in reality, they were marketing ploys. Food writers and journalists were looking for something new and exciting to write about. The masses, wearied of their tasteless low-fat fare, were ready to start adding fat back into their diets, even if it was in the form of olive oil. And the olive oil industry was more than ready to oblige. And to fund.
A handful of researchers started working on studies of the Mediterranean Diet, but there really wasn’t a Mediterranean Diet. There were a lot of people around the Mediterranean eating diverse diets, but no single Mediterranean Diet. So each research group basically created its own idea of the Mediterranean Diet and studied it.
To say you will be surprised to learn not only the structures of these various Mediterranean Diets but the outcome of the studies is a vast understatement.
I’m forever being accosted at parties and other events with questions about diet. When I explain what I do, I can’t tell you how many people then tell me they eat a Mediterranean Diet or that their doctor put them on a Mediterranean Diet. Even doctors believe the Mediterranean diet is the one diet that has stood the test of vigorous scientific investigation.