The Mediterranean Diet Roundtable in California: A new way to address America’s health challenges

Mediterranean Diet Roundtable

Pasta with tomato sauce and basil on kitchen worktop, vegetables and utensils all around. Photo by stockasso

Beverly Hills – The Mediterranean Diet Roundtable (MDR) brings its second event to sunny California, the most "Mediterranean" state of the Union, on April 20-21, 2016 at the Beverly Hills Public Library, 444 N Rexford Drive. A multi-audience platform, the MDR aims to bring together decision-makers in the US Food Industry, academia, nutritionists, retail, science, and public policy, to create an open forum for an exchange of ideas and practices. The distinguished group of world-class experts will offer insights about the many aspects of food, health, and performance. The program will feature: 
• Scientific insights (Prof. Stefanos Kales, Harvard School of Public Health; Dan Flynn, UC Davis Olive Oil Center; Dr. Imma DeVivo, Harvard Medical School; Prof. Eugenio Luigi Iorio and Italian universities; Chef Maria Loi);
• Public Policy and Food (Paul Simon, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health; Shahid Hashmi, Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills; Thea Emmerling, Minister Counselor, Delegation of the European Union to the United States of America);
• Leaders from volume Food Services (Angelo Mojica, Cleveland Clinic, OH; Michiel Bakker, Google  Food; Jennifer LeBarre, Oakland Unified School District; Rafi Taherian, Yale Hospitality - 2016 Silver Plate Award); Ken Toong, University of Massachusetts – one of the most awarded dining food service in College/University category);
• Chefs, Media & Public Opinion (Amy Riolo, TV personality / writer; NBC’s Janet Zappala, Chef Gino Campagna; Chef Lee Knaz);
• Retailers' worlds (Dino Borri, Eataly; Justin Marx,; and Jessica Siegel, Gelson’s Supermarkets).
Between sessions, different olive oil tasting will be presented. First an  "Authentic EVOO tasting experience," featuring a comparative and educational tasting about different Regions of Italy. Also on the first day, the North American Olive Oil Association (http:// [NAOOA __title__ NAOOA]) will lead a guided tasting of different international Olive Oils. The following day, expert Alexis Kerner will provide a practical guide about commercial and gourmet grade oils.  Olive Oil is the star ingredient of the Mediterranean Diet. As stated on the [International Olive Oil Council __title__ International Olive Oil Council] website, although most oils/fats have about the same calories (9 kcal per gram), there are in fact important distinction between good/healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats), bad fats (saturated fats) and “ugly fats” (trans fats). While many consumers and professionals alike don’t understand the abundant information about monounsaturated (MUFA), polyunsaturated (PUFA) and saturated fatty acids (SFA), they do understand that trans fatty acids (TFA) have detrimental effects on human health. Recent research confirms the harmful effects of saturated fats. Solid at room temperature, saturated fats are found in animal sources like meat, dairy and eggs as well as plant sources: coconut, palm and palm kernel oil. For health promotion and disease prevention, consumers are encouraged to replace SFA with MUFA (olive oil).
With obesity rates ranging between 21% and 36% (a frightening increase from previous years as stated in, over 73.5 million  American adults face high LDL or “bad cholesterol” levels, which is mostly caused by bad fatty foods (, paving the way to serious heart disease, the biggest killer in the USA (1 in 4 adults per year). While there are many treatments towards lowering risks of heart disease and obesity, there is one low-cost, delicious approach has been known for millennia and enjoyed by millions: The Mediterranean Diet, shared by about 22 countries and featuring distinctive styles but substantially similar food patterns. Studies indicate that Mediterranean people have remarkably lower rates of heart disease and cholesterol than the USA, along with lowers risks of cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and many more. But the Mediterranean diet is not just good food: it involves a healthy lifestyle, culture and... market share. Its importance goes beyond being a delicious prevention.
Menu engineering and total quality approach, along with valuable market trends, importing strategies and substantial scientific information, are just some of the topics addressed at the MDR. For more information, registration and sponsorship opportunities, please visit The event has been approved by the Commission on Dietetic Registration for CPEUs credits and it is sponsored by Barilla and Italy America Chamber of Commerce West.

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