Ranked the healthiest country in the world in 2017, Italy is full of people eating well and enjoying their high-ranking lifestyles. But with all of the delicious food la cucina italiana has to offer, it takes some restraint to maintain that number one position.
A 2016 Nielsen study revealed that 38% of Italians are on a diet: 18% consciously avoid fats, and 11% limit their carbohydrate intake. Just 9% cut down on sweets in their attempts to maintain a healthy weight.
Nevertheless, recent statistics indicate that 45.1% of Italian adults are overweight or obese. People point to the gradual abandonment of the Mediterranean diet, increasingly sedentary lifestyles, and the effects of advertisements that feature less than wholesome food products as possible causes for the bulging waistlines among residents of il bel paese.
Dieting is a 200+ billion dollar industry worldwide, and Italian pharmacies sell the same pills, potions, bands, plans and jiggly saucers you find everywhere else.
In terms of etymology, la dieta comes from the Greek word δίαιτα, which means habit or way of life. La dieta has also come to take on the same significance that it does in English, referring to a specific way of eating for the purpose of losing weight. If you’re on a diet in Italy, you can tell people “Sono a dieta” [I’m on a diet].
If this is the kind of learning you like to do, pick up a copy of Italian Through Food!