A work in charge of researchers from the University of Granada (UGR) comes to dismantle the idea that confinement, as a consequence of the state of alarm that came into effect on March 14, supposed adherence to unhealthy dietary patterns by the Spanish population. Nothing is further from reality. In fact the opposite happened.

And it is that the results of the study, called ‘COVIDiet project’ and carried out by experts belonging to the Food, Nutrition and Health research group of the Department of Nutrition and Food Science of the UGR, indicate that, against all odds, the situation caused by COVID -19 has made Spaniards eat in a healthier way, and put the Mediterranean diet at the epicenter of their diet again.

The research methodology, published in the journal ‘Nutrients’, was relatively straightforward as the researchers launched an online survey on March 20 (one week after the State of Alarm statement) for the Spanish adult population, which included questions related to the adherence to the Mediterranean Diet and changes in eating behavior referring to the consumption of processed products, fried, snacks, alcohol or type of cooking, in addition to changes in physical activity and body weight, among other.

Results of the test

In the survey A total of 7,514 people participated from all over the national territory, of which the majority (70%) were women, people over 35 and with higher education:

The study results show how adherence to the Mediterranean diet increased overall during confinement. The Mediterranean diet is considered a healthy diet pattern in which the presence of olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts, red wine and fish stands out. Surprisingly, this change was greater in the younger participants (18 to 35 years old). This improvement was associated with a lower consumption of confectionery, red meats and sweetened or carbonated drinks and a higher consumption of vegetables, fruits and olive oil during confinement compared to their usual intake. Just over half of the participants (57.3%) stated that they had decreased their alcohol intake, but also their physical activity (59.6%). During the early stages of confinement, most participants stated that they did not experience changes in the frequency of cooking or in the consumption of snacks and fast food. 63.7% of the participants declared that they were not eating more during confinement. Only 28% of the participants experienced some difficulty in finding some foods, with meat (23.83%), vegetables (13.8%) and fish (12.1%) being the majority.

Although adherence to the Mediterranean diet during confinement has increased, the Spanish are still far from having a good diet As far as the Mediterranean diet is concerned. For this reason, we must maintain the healthy behaviors acquired during this period to ensure that they become habits. Only in this way can we achieve an optimal state of health that has a positive impact in the prevention of chronic diseases, as well as in the complications derived from COVID-19 ”, the authors conclude.

CovidDiet: international projection

COVIDiet is a project with international projection, led by the researcher Celia Rodríguez Pérez, of the Department of Nutrition and Food Science of the University of Granada, in which prestigious researchers from 16 countries have participated: Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Croatia, Denmark, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Germany and Turkey. After evaluating the eating behavior of part of the Spanish population during confinement, the next step of the COVIDiet project is to know and compare how confinement due to COVID-19 has influenced the eating behavior of the population of the different countries involved in the study.