ISABB Journal of
Food and Agricultural Sciences

  • Abbreviation: ISABB. J. Food and Agric. Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1937-3244
  • DOI: 10.5897/ISABB-JFAS
  • Start Year: 2011
  • Published Articles: 34

Full Length Research Paper

Mediterranean diet and different food models: Measurement and comparison of environmental costs using the ecological footprint method

Marco Ascione1, Luigi Campanella1 and Riccarda Antiochia2*
1Department of Chemistry and Drug Technologies, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy. 2Department of Chemistry and Drug Technologies, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Received: 23 January 2011
  •  Accepted: 23 June 2011
  •  Published: 30 September 2011


The Mediterranean diet can represent a healthy food model for the prevention of chronic degenerative diseases. When compared with the US and Czech diets using the ecological footprint method, it emerges that the Mediterranean diet entails lower costs for the environment and a larger sustainability. The present study shows that dietary choices based on the Mediterranean diet require a significantly lower use of agricultural land compared to the other two models. Furthermore, because the diet typically promotes consumption of local products, the Mediterranean diet requires fewer hectares for atmospheric CO2absorption due to the decreased use of fuel for transportation. However, in terms of efficient use of land, this guarantees only a small gain. Overall, on average, an individual who follows the Mediterranean diet generates anecological footprint that is 1.33 times smaller than the one corresponding to the US model and 1.28 times smaller with respect to the Czech model.


Key words: Mediterranean diet, US diet, Czech diet, ecological footprint, “environmental costs”.