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The average Greek eats 100 kg of meat per year

16 March 2014 / 16:03:01  GRReporter
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Greeks are even greater meat lovers than Americans who are considered to be fanatical fans of meat. The country is the seventh in the world in terms of consumption of red meat and every Greek eats 100 kg of meat per year, while Americans consume 88 kg of meat on average.

These data are provided by Antonis Kafatos, professor of preventive medicine and nutrition at the University of Crete. They were presented at the conference "Trans fatty acids in our diet", organized by the Chemical and Food Technology Laboratory of the Chemistry Faculty of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki on the occasion of the World Chemistry Day.

According to Professor Kafatos, 35 g of meat were consumed daily per person in 1960 on Crete, and studies of the Rockefeller Institute carried out in 1948 and later in 1960 show that the average consumption of olive oil on Crete was 120 g, and 29% of energy consumed per day came from monounsaturated fatty acids.

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Furthermore, 50 years ago, the main source of fats for the Greek population included olive oil and nuts, while fats from meat, dairy products, eggs, fish and seafood were limited because of economic difficulties and mainly because of the fast of the Orthodox Church.

It is an impressive fact that until the early 1960s the majority of Greeks (60%) fasted for 180 days per year.

"Unfortunately, the excellent Cretan diet of the 1960s was changing in the following decades, with the production and import of many processed foods and margarines, offered in hypermarkets, fast food restaurants and shops in every neighbourhood," said Professor Kafatos.

As shown by studies, changes in the Cretan diet have been confirmed by periodic analyses of subcutaneous fat, fatty acids, and the obesity epidemic in the last 40-50 years in adults but also in children.

According to Kafatos, the percentage of fats from saturated fatty acids has reached the levels of the USA and northern Europe (15-18%) today. "Numerous analyses have proved that fats, which are contained in many foods, cause chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases or most cancers," said the professor.

Ice cream

"Most ice creams are not dairy products because their main ingredient is nutmeg oil (80% saturated), their second ingredient is sugar, and the third - skimmed milk powder, plus dozens of additives," said Kafatos.

He also warned that besides salt, chips contained a large amount of poor quality fats. "When exposed to high temperatures, the toxic substance acrylamide is produced, which is particularly atherogenic and carcinogenic," emphasized Kafatos.

Tags: consumption meat fats diet
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