According to the Greeks (diaita) it simply meant good life rules. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, was the first to use the word by reference to the diet prescribed by the doctor.
With the passing of the time, the word had a more and more restrictive meaning. In the Middle Ages, it meant fast. Nowadays, diet is fashionable and the knowledge of metabolism mechanisms are in continuous progress and for this reason, it is rediscovering the ability to associate rules for a healthier life to diet.
Nowadays, the most appreciated and well known food model all over the world, based on the consumption of olive oil, fruits and vegetables, cereals and few products of animal origin is the “Mediterranean diet”. This definition was coined by an American scholar, Prof. Ancel Keys who at the beginning of the 50s moved in the South of Italy for five years because he noticed that there was a lower incidence of cardiovascular diseases in those areas. It was the first important study about fats and, in particular, about olive oil; in fact, in the famous book “Seven Country Study” Keys and his research group, dealing with different lifestyles and various industrialized notions, affirmed that olive oil, lacking of saturated fatty acids,reduces the cholesterol content in blood.
As a result of this research and of many others, the consumption of extra virgin olive oil in the world has increased and nowadays it is considered effective and indispensable for people who prefer a healthy and balanced diet.