The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

The Traditional Healthy Mediterranean Diet Pyramid is based on the healthy eating and lifestyle habits of the folks living in southern Italy, the Greek island of Crete, and other areas of Greece in the early 1960s. At that time, the life expectancy of adults in those areas was among the longest in the world; and the incidence of heart disease, certain cancers, and other diseases was among the lowest.


meat | eggs | fish | sweets | poultry | dairy |

beans | olive oil | fruit | veggies | grains

also: water | wine | activity

Researchers believe that the diet and lifestyle of the region was the secret to good health. The typical fat intake ranged from less than 25 percent of their daily calories to over 35 percent — but much of it came from heart-healthy olive oil. The diet boasted a low amount of artery-clogging saturated fat, coming in at no more than 8 percent of their total calories daily.

The pyramid is a blend of a plant-based diet, along with a smattering of dairy products, meat, and other foods typically found in the classic USDA Food Groups.  Intentionally absent are the serving sizes for each food group. Rather, the pyramid is designed to be more of a visual snapshot of the relative importance of these items in the diet, not a rigid eating plan. The pyramid is geared towards healthy adults. As always, you should speak with your health care professional before making any dietary changes to make sure that they are appropriate for you.

Click on each food under the pyramid to learn more.