The phrase "Mediterranean diet" was coined at the end of the 1950s by Ancel Keys, an American physiologist and nutritionist who had landed in Salerno in 1944 with the U.S. armed forces. Among other things, he discovered the link between high cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease. After the war Keys purchased a house in the Cilento region and spent the next 40 years conducting studies on nutrition. These studies would lead to his bestselling book "How to Eat Well and Stay Well: The Mediterranean Way", which acknowledged and gave scientific dignity to the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and helped promote it throughout the world. Of course, Keys simply recognized a diet that enjoyed a long prior existence, based on rich traditions and territories, religious and ethical restrictions, and anthropological customs that Elisabetta Moro thoroughly describes. Her book thus expands the reader's awareness about this important part of our material culture. On November 17, 2010, UNESCO included the Mediterranean diet in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Elisabetta Moro teaches Cultural Anthropology and Dietary Traditions at the Suor Orsola Benincasa University in Naples and Anthropology and History of Nutrition in the Gambero Rosso master's programme in Wine and Food Multimedia Communication.