Prepared dishes vs. Mediterranean diet: A threat to health?

Ready meals vs. Mediterranean diet: A threat to health?

In recent years, we have witnessed a significant change in the eating habits of Spaniards. The growing consumption of ready meals, fast snacks and fast food has been increasing, while the presence of fresh and traditional foods on our tables has been decreasing. This phenomenon raises significant concerns about the impact on health, especially with regard to the iconic Mediterranean Diet.

The Mediterranean Diet, recognized worldwide for its health benefits, is characterized by its emphasis on fresh foods, vegetables, fruits, fish and olive oil.

However, recent statistics show an alarming decrease in the consumption of fresh fish and meat in Spain.

Prepared dishes vs. Mediterranean Diet

According to Purificación González, deputy general manager of Food from Spain Promotion, there are several factors that contribute to this worrying trend. These include the reduction of time spent cooking at home, the increasing popularity of single dishes and the introduction of exotic products into our daily diets.

However, ready meals, snacks and fast food have become the main culprits in changing eating habits.

At the recent Mediterranean Diet Congress, held in Barcelona, the role of ready meals in the decline of traditional cuisine was highlighted. These convenient but preservative- and sodium-laden products have gradually displaced fresh, nutritious foods from our tables.

Although they provide a quick fix for meals, their impact on our long-term health is cause for concern.

Ready meals producers defend their products, arguing that they are produced under healthy criteria and provide nutritionally balanced meals.

However, the reality is that many of these products contain significant amounts of saturated fats, sodium and additives, which can contribute to health problems such as obesity, hypertension and heart disease.

The essence of the Mediterranean Diet

In contrast, the true essence of the Mediterranean Diet is based on fresh foods, prepared simply and seasoned with natural ingredients such as olive oil and aromatic herbs. It is a diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, legumes and fish, which offers a wide range of essential nutrients for optimal health.

Despite these concerns, companies such as Ametller Origen continue to experience growth in demand for ready meals, highlighting the convenience and healthfulness of their products.

It is important to keep in mind that these dishes should be complemented with healthy options, such as fruits or yogurts, to maintain an adequate nutritional balance.

Experts indicate that it is essential to take urgent measures to reverse this trend and promote greater awareness of the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.