The Mediterranean diet: the ‘star’ diet in the press in the last decade

A team of three researchers belonging to the ScienceFlows group of the University of Valencia has presented a study in which they analyse the ‘star’ diets of the last decade in the four most read digital newspapers in Spain. The conclusions of the study have been published in the magazine Cuadernos.info.

DSince the beginning of the twenty-first century, interest in diets and food has been increasing. As the researchers Isabel Mendoza-Poudereux, Vanessa Roger-Monzó and Myriam Martí-Sánchez point out in the paper “Las dietas ‘estrella’ en la prensa digital (2011-2020). Análisis semántico sobre patrones de alimentación” (‘The ‘star’ diets in the digital press (2011-2020). Semantic analysis of eating patterns’), published this month, milestones such as the NAOS strategy (Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Prevention) have contributed to the media collaborating significantly in increasing interest in diets.

The results of the content analysis carried out in the four main Spanish newspapers (El País, El Mundo, ABC and La Vanguardia) show that the press addresses, especially, the characteristics of five types of diet (Mediterranean, DASH, ketogenic, vegan and vegetarian), and the effects they have on health, especially the Mediterranean diet.

The authors, in their article, confirm that, although the Mediterranean diet is the most mentioned pattern throughout the decade, the treatment it has received has evolved. Thus, in 2006 the news about the Mediterranean diet was linked to eating patterns aimed at losing weight, in recent years this information has been linked to ailments that can be reduced or prevented. In addition, they tend to be based on current and rigorous studies.

The Mediterranean diet is the most mentioned dietary pattern in the digital press in the last decade, although the journalistic treatment it has received has evolved.

When it comes to vegetarian, vegan, or ketogenic diets, the news tends to use sensationalist language. In this way, they tend to refer to promising results, but which have only been tested in animal models. In addition, although celebrities are mentioned for whom these diets have worked, the information also includes potential dangers due to the lack of control by an expert.

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Translation: Amaia Crespo