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How Much Do You Know About the Mediterranean Diet? Take This Quick Quiz


The “Mediterranean” diet has been promoted as having many health benefits. Do you know the facts about this diet? Test your knowledge with this quiz.


1. The Mediterranean diet is a brand new diet that just became popular:


a. True


b. False


The correct answer is b. People in Italy, Spain, and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea have been eating this type of diet for centuries. Because the geographic area of the Mediterranean is so broad, there is no one specific “Mediterranean diet.” It is a general way of eating that varies somewhat in the region.



2. A large part of the Mediterranean diet is plant foods. Plant foods include:


a. Fruit and vegetables


b. Whole grains


c. Beans and legumes


d. a, b, and c


e. Soil and fertilizer


The correct answer is d. Examples of plant foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains such as wheat and brown rice, beans, and legumes such as lentils and peas.


3. The other main parts of the Mediterranean diet include:


a. Fish at least twice a week


b. Healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil


c. Both a and b


d. Red meat at every meal


The correct answer is c. The diet focuses on vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes, fish, nuts, and healthy fats.  Only small amounts of red meat are part of the diet. If it is appropriate, red wine in moderation is also included in the diet.


4. According to the Mediterranean way of way of eating, all fats are bad.


a. True


b. False


The correct answer is b. The diet favors unsaturated fats such as olive oil and canola oil, nuts, and seeds. The diet also includes fatty fish, such as salmon and albacore tuna, because it is high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The diet discourages saturated fats (which are in foods such as fatty beef, chicken with skin, whole milk, and cheese) and trans-fats (which are in foods such as store-bought cakes and muffins).


5. If you follow the Mediterranean diet, you can eat as much olive oil and canola oil as you want.


a. True


b. False


The correct answer is b. Too much of a good thing is still too much. The Mediterranean diet allows for 35-40% of calories to come from fats such as healthy oils, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish. While it is tasty to dip bread in olive oil and use it to flavor vegetables and other dishes, balance your intake of the healthy oils with the other foods in this healthy eating style.


6. Some doctors recommend the Mediterranean diet because research has shown that it can:


a. Help you run faster


b. Lower heart disease risk


c. Reverse hair loss


d. Make people calmer


The correct answer is b. Following the Mediterranean diet may lead to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, and a lower risk of heart disease and other health problems.


7. Another health benefit of following the diet is:


a. More stable blood sugar


b. Reduced risk of cancer


c. Possible longer life


d. Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease


e. All of the above


The correct answer is e. A number of scientific studies have linked the Mediterranean diet to many different health benefits, including a longer life span for some people and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers still have many questions about which parts of the diet are most important and how much of certain foods should be consumed.


8. Another aspect of the Mediterranean lifestyle that is thought to improve health includes:


a. Staying awake very late


b. Being physically active


c. Enjoying meals with others


d. Going to the beach a lot


e. Both b and c


The correct answer is e. Being physically active and socializing during meals are also part of the Mediterranean lifestyle. Some researchers who study the diet think that lower rates of heart disease in Mediterranean countries are due to the diet, as well as to lifestyle factors such as more physical activity, shared meals, and extended social support systems within communities.


9. A good example of a Mediterranean diet lunch is:


a. Lentil soup and an apple


b. Mixed green salad with chickpeas, roasted vegetables, a small piece of roasted chicken, and a piece of whole grain bread


c. Turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy


d. Spinach salad with mozzarella cheese, bacon, and candied pecans and a side of Italian bread


e. Both a and b


The correct answer is e. Both meals are mostly plant foods and are high in fiber. They contain whole grains and legumes as well as fruit or vegetables for a good variety of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.


These articles are not a substitute for medical advice, and are not intended to treat or cure any disease.  Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid, or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of scientific literature may vary.  Consult your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet, exercise or medication regimen.



American Heart Association, Mediterranean Diet:

Mediterranean Diet Linked with Lower Risk of Heart Disease Among Young U.S. Workers, Harvard School of Public Health:

Mediterranean Diet Linked to Longer Life, Harvard School of Public Health:

Nutrition News: Widely Studied Mediterranean Diet Linked to Good Health:

Make it Mediterranean

Mediterranean Diet and Heart Health, American Heart Association:

Mediterranean Diet: a Heart Healthy Eating Plan, Mayo Clinic: