How Italians Stay Slim

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Eat like they do in Rome, Italy - not Rome, New York

By Holly McCord & Linda Gilbert (Nutrition News)

You’d be amazed to see what the slim, trim Italians are eating, as we were on a recent visit.
It’s so different from what we call Italian-American food in the US, and too bad for us!
The Italians enjoy much better health than we do.

Check the contrasts between the typical diet in Rome, Italy, and the diet of Italian-Americans
in Rome, New York, as described by local dietitians. Then use the secrets of the real Italian
diet to start getting healthier and slimmer today.

Italian Secret #1: Three Meals, Period

Rome, Italy: Rome, NY:
They eat at meal times – ONLY! Snacking is a way of life.
Snack food consumption is low in Italy. And when Italians do snack, it’s fruit and nuts. Fast food? Not popular. This city is snack-happy like the rest of America, where consumption of corn chips, pretzels, and crackers has gone up 200% since the 70’s.

Fast food is big too.

Italian Secret #2: Dark Greens Daily

Rome, Italy: Rome, NY:
Salads feature dark leafy greens. Salads feature iceberg lettuce. Salads mostly consist of nutrient-poor iceburg lettuce.
Packed with nutrients, fresh, dark greens are served with most meals, often as a salad course that comes right before dessert. Overall consumption of dark green veggies such as spinach is low.

Italian Secret #3: Olive Oil for Richness

Rome, Italy: Rome, NY:
Olive oil rules. Cheese and Meat rule.
Olive oil is served in salads, pasta, and cooked veggies in generous amounts. It continues to be the principle source of fat in the diet. Favorites such as cheese-laden lasagna and veal parmigiana fill plates. Italian bread is served with butter.

Submarine sandwiches bulge with Italian ham and Provolone.
Result? Lots of heart-smart mono-unsaturated fat. Result? Lots of artery-gumming saturated fat.

Italian Secret #4 Fruit for Dessert

Rome, Italy: Rome, NY:
Dessert is fresh fruit in season. Dessert is Italian cookies & pastries.
Italians end most meals with fresh fruit, served plain or marinated in wine or balsamic vinegar with a little sugar. Sweets are saved for special occasions. Doughnuts are a daily event for many people too.

Big Payoff for Eating Italian

Italians enjoy much better health than Americans, thanks partly to the real
Italian diet: lots of fruits, green veggies, olive oil, and fewer snacks and sweets.

Here’s dramatic proof:

  In Italy In the US
Who's obese? 1 in 15 1 in 5
Who has heart disease? 1 in 25 1 in 5
Who has diabetes? 1 in 28 1 in 16
World health ranking #6 #24