Greek diet suffers from meals outside the home

Despite changes in the prevailing way of life and the slide into bad eating habits that mark the civilized world, good dietary habits to some extent still hold sway in Greece. According to a study carried out by the General Consumers Organization of Greece on Greeks’ eating habits, out of a sample of 1,064 consumers from all over the country, many continue to eat a midday meal despite the change in working hours – often outside the home. Meals are taken outside the home not so much for enjoyment as necessity. Thus 35 percent of the respondents said they ate outside the home two to four times a week. Thirty percent avoid eating at fast-food restaurants, but 38 percent visit one at least once a week. Faithful to the prescriptions of a Mediterranean diet, Greeks eat vegetables, bread and fruit daily. But that’s where compliance with the rules of healthy eating stops. At present, dairy products are consumed several times a week, though a Mediterranean diet stipulates daily consumption. By contrast, fried potatoes and soft drinks are frequently consumed. Meat should be eaten a few times a month and fish a few times a week; the reverse is the case. Pulses, basic to the Mediterranean diet, are only eaten on occasion during the month, as opposed to daily. Eggs are eaten far more rarely than the two to three times a week that people require. Thirty-seven percent of respondents in the survey said that their dietary habits have changed. Of these, 58 percent says they have changed for the better, but 26 percent acknowledge that their diet has worsened. Eighty-seven percent said that they know the rules for healthy eating, whether they follow them or not. A majority of consumers (57 percent) said they had a problem with the prices of food products, 61 percent with the quality and 67 percent with hygiene and safety. Seventy-two percent of consumers believe that inspections carried out by state bodies on the quality and safety of food are inadequate. Sixty percent of consumers prefer food without preservatives – but do not always opt for them when it actually comes to buying food.