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It is difficult to find the moment when the idea for a book is first born. For this book, the basic concept was probably born during conversations I had in Parma, Italy, with Dr. Riccardi of the University of Naples and Dr. Jenkins of the University of Toronto (Canada). Later, in a conference room at the University of Verona (Italy) School of Medicine, I had a day-long meeting with Drs. Bosello and Cominacini of the University of Verona, and Drs. Jenkins and Riccardi and their co-workers. After an intense working day, the general plan of this book was completed. The title Mediterranean diets rather than diet was appropriately cho sen as there is more than one Mediterranean diet, a point discussed in chapter 1. This chapter focuses on the definition of a Mediterranean diet and no matter what the reader's interest may be, it is imperative that this first chapter be carefully read. We should always remember that there are-from a preventive medi cine point of view-good and poor Mediterranean diets. The best exam ple is probably the difference between the high olive oil, high carbohy drate, low meat diet of southern Italy and the high saturated fat, higher meat diets of the northern Italians. Prevalence of disease parallels these differences. Chapter 2 covers some ancient history in an easy-to-read manner that is instructional as well as fascinating even for the nonmedical scientist or the nonhistorian.