Mediterranean Countries Forget the Mediterranean Diet

The world is tending toward a monodiet based on Western fast food, and nowhere is this more striking than in Spain and Italy

3 min read
Opening illustration for Numbers Don't Lie opinion column.
Illustration: Chad Hagen

The benefits of the Mediterranean diet became widely known after 1970, when Ancel Keys published the first installment in his long-term study of nutrition and health in Italy, Greece, and five other countries and found that the diet was associated with a low incidence of heart disease.

The key traits of the diet are a high intake of carbohydrates (mostly bread, pasta, and rice) complemented by pulses (beans, peas, chickpeas) and nuts, dairy products (mostly cheese and yogurt), fruits and vegetables, seafood, and lightly processed seasonal foods, generally cooked with olive oil. It included much more modest quantities of sugar and of meat. Best of all, plenty of wine was taken with the food.

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Are You Ready for Workplace Brain Scanning?

Extracting and using brain data will make workers happier and more productive, backers say

11 min read
A photo collage showing a man wearing a eeg headset while looking at a computer screen.
Nadia Radic

Get ready: Neurotechnology is coming to the workplace. Neural sensors are now reliable and affordable enough to support commercial pilot projects that extract productivity-enhancing data from workers’ brains. These projects aren’t confined to specialized workplaces; they’re also happening in offices, factories, farms, and airports. The companies and people behind these neurotech devices are certain that they will improve our lives. But there are serious questions about whether work should be organized around certain functions of the brain, rather than the person as a whole.

To be clear, the kind of neurotech that’s currently available is nowhere close to reading minds. Sensors detect electrical activity across different areas of the brain, and the patterns in that activity can be broadly correlated with different feelings or physiological responses, such as stress, focus, or a reaction to external stimuli. These data can be exploited to make workers more efficient—and, proponents of the technology say, to make them happier. Two of the most interesting innovators in this field are the Israel-based startup InnerEye, which aims to give workers superhuman abilities, and Emotiv, a Silicon Valley neurotech company that’s bringing a brain-tracking wearable to office workers, including those working remotely.

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