Macronutrient Adequacy of a Mediterranean-type Meal Examined at Recommended and Below Recommended Energy Values

Author(s): Alan M. Preston, Priscilla K. Clayton

Background: Mediterranean style eating pattern is regarded as among the worlds’ healthiest. Numerous studies have shown that the Mediterranean eating pattern can promote weight loss, however, if combined with caloric restriction as promoted via internet sites, are inherent advantages retained or do macronutrients fall below recommended levels and if so, at which energy values does this occur?

Objective: To address this question

Methods: We have formulated a meal which was developed from items on menus in Barcelona, Spain. Macronutrients were determined using NDSR software and the meal was assessed for carbohydrate, fat and protein content at recommended levels of 2500 and 2000 kcal/day as well as at 1600, 1200 and 800 kcal/day through control of portion sizes. Authenticity of the meal as being Mediterranean- type was verified by comparison to established standards contained in dietary guidelines for Americans as well as similarity to percent of macronutrients published in the literature.

Results: Comparison of our results to guidelines for a Mediterranean style eating pattern showed fruit, protein and oil intake to be sufficient but not so for the vegetables, grains and dairy food groups. All macronutrients reached dietary recommended amounts when analyzed at energy values of 2500 and 2000 kcal/day. Fat and carbohydrate content satisfied recommended amounts at intakes of 1600 and 1200 kcal/day but the amount of protein was insufficient at all values below 2000 kcal/day.

Conclusion: Although a Mediterranean-style eating pattern is among the healthiest, in order to maintain macronutrient adequacy, it should not be energy compromised.

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