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Traditional dishes in the European and Hungarian diet

1) Comparison of Mediterranean diet and Hungarian Pyramid on different levels (on the basis of Nutritional Recommendation) - Characteristics of Mediterranean Diet Pyramid made by Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust:
Hungarian Diet Pyramid is similar to US Food Guide pattern, made by USDA/US Department of Agriculture.
2) Examination of data about life expectancy:
If we compare the life expectancy of the different countries we can see from the diagram, that Greece and Spain have the highest rates in Europe.

3) Examination of mortality rates in the European countries - cause and effect relationship between mortality rates and nutritional factors:
Diseases of civilization are the top ten causes of death at the age of 45. The more the civilization becomes industrialized and comfortable, the more degenerative diseases spread widely. In many western countries the diet of people changed substantially during the second half of the 20th century with increase in the consumption of meat, dairy products, fruit juice, sugar, and alcoholic drinks. At the same time consumption of bread (rich in fiber), of potatoes, rice and maize flour decreased. The lifestyle of people also changed, physical activity was reduced and obesity prevailed.
Analysis of data in mortality by cause and age has shown that the changes were mainly due to external causes of death and sudden occurence of cardiovascular diseases.
4) Examination of food consumption in Greece and Hungary - annual average consumption, kg per capita

  • Vegetable consumption is twice as in Hungary
  • Nut consumption is very high - the highest in the world
  • Cheese consumption is eighty times more than in Hungary
  • Fish and seefood consumption has the similar trend
  • Olive oil's use is twice and a half more than sunflower oil consumption in Hungary
  • Milk consumption is less than half
  • Lard is not used for cooking and frying in the Mediterranean diet

5) Past of traditional meals: Abstract of my scientific article is about the raw materials used in traditional kitchen in Hungary and their nutritional value examining their chemistry by the principle of healthy nutrition.
6) Future of traditional meals: The future will lie in the wine gastronomy - excellent wine matching with the traditional dishes in the wine routes at a wine cellar or a restaurant. Hungary has 22 historical wine regions with 24 wine routes. Picturesque valleys, mountains, excellent wines make a delight for wine lovers. A new type of tourism, gastronomic tours are spreading, e.g. in Sardegna, Italy. We can also offer different traditional meals matching with the wines growing on the same territory.

Maria Petho
College of Szolnok, Hungary

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