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This paper deals with the present diet in the Mediterranean. Many of the plants and animals used in the traditional Mediterranean diet were domesticated in the Near East and spread from there around the Mediterranean. There is a clear distinction between the food consumption of the countries around the Mediterranean Sea and those north of the Alps; but there are regional differences within the Mediterranean.

In the West Mediterranean meat consumption is high, and cereal consumption low, but North Africa has a high consumption of cereals, and little meat or dairy foods. In the East Mediterranean olive oil consumption is being replaced by oilseed, but the former remains dominant from Portugal to Greece. Fruit and vegetables are particularly significant in the East Mediterranean. Rapid economic growth in the European countries of the Mediterranean since 1960 has ended the traditional Mediterranean diet and diminished the unity that the basin once had in diets.