The ‘Mediterranean Diet’ Super Pill

7 Jan



Seven days into the year, and I’ve spotted a new piece of teaching material. The front page story of today’s Daily Express is headlined ‘Super Pills is the Key to Living Longer’, and reports a small-scale study of the effects of lycopene. The story also appears in today’s Daily Mail under the headline ‘A daily tomato pill to cut heart attacks’.


The study itself is of passing interest, but what drew my attention was the link being made with ‘The Mediterranean Diet’. The logic of the article is that lycopene is derived from tomatoes, and tomatoes are a major constitutent of the Mediterranean diet. It will be interesting to get students to reflect on this adea of the link between good health and the ‘Mediterranean Diet’. Hopefully students will be able to derive for themselves the possibility that overall ‘lifestyle’ rather than diet alone might be behind the health advatages of those living in Southern Europe. Once this has been established it’s only a small step to ask students to think about the impact of the current economic crisis in Southern Europe, with civil unrest in Greece and unemployment in Spain in excess of 25%.

However good their diet might be one suspects that the current economic woes are likely to have a much greater neagtive effect on health !

One Response to “The ‘Mediterranean Diet’ Super Pill”


  1. Being a member of a gym makes you do better at University…. The return of the Mediteranean Diet Effect | Teaching Rational Thinking - July 21, 2014

    […] One of the most used examples for teaching rational thinking is the ‘Mediterranean Diet’…. Put simply this is the idea that Northern Europeans live longer if they stick to the diet of Southern Europeans i.e. Lots of salad and olive oil. A few moment’s thought demonstrates how silly this idea is i.e. Northern Europeans who consume lots of salad and olive oil tend to come from higher income brackets, and it’s the higher economic status that is the predictor of longevity, not the diet itself. […]

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