Scientific bases


In order to evaluate objectively how much a common diet approaches or deviates from the reference model developed on the base of the surveys conducted in Nicotera, some indexes of nutritional quality have been developed over the years.


Thanks to the development of those indexes it has been possible to note that, over the years, the dietary patterns have gradually diverged from that of the Italian Reference Mediterranean Diet with the result, as a natural consequence, of a deterioration of health with particular reference to cardio-vascular diseases and metabolic disorders.

The following are the main indexes used for the evaluation of the dishes:

Mediterranean Adequacy Index (MAI): it indicates the adequacy degree of the dish/menu to the Italian Reference Mediterranean Diet. This value is obtained from the ratio between the total energy coming from the foods belonging to the Mediterranean Diet (bread, cereals, legumes, etc.) with the one supplied from other foods.


Atherogenic Index (AI): it indicates the atherogenic potential of the dish/menu and depends especially on the simultanenous presence of high amounts of cholesterol and saturated fatty acids.

Quality Lipid Index (QLI): it expresses the lipid quality of the foods or menu and at the same time provides a good indicator for the detection of atherogenic risk.

Nutritional Quality Index (INQ): it represents the ratio between the percentage of

coverage of calorie requirements for the portion of food considered. The INQ is a

measure of the nutritional qualities of the individual macronutrients or micronutrients contained in the dish compared to the standardized and reference values of a balanced diet.

Index of Thrombogenicity (IT): it indicates the dish/menu thrombogenic potential.

Mediterranean Adequacy Index (MAI): the index gives to the foods and to the single recipes a score that includes all the indexes mentioned above (AI,QLI,IT, and MAI).

This value helps to choose the recipes or menus that are more in line with the Italian Reference Mediterranean Diet.