SPANIARDS are abandoning their much-vaunted Mediterranean diets, experts have warned.

Despite research showing that heart disease in Spain is among the lowest in Europe, Spanish people are turning their noses up at the celebrated munch.

Instead they are ordering less nutritious dishes from bars and restaurants, the study in British journal Public Health Nutrition confirmed.

According to Spain’s environment ministry, a third of all money spent on food – some 90 billion euros – is spent on eating out.

“Spain is the fourth Mediterranean country that is most losing its diet, after Greece, Albania and Turkey,” cautioned the report.

“It is fundamental and a priority to preserve this along with a healthy living style in our current societies.”

The growing neglect of the prized diet has fostered fears about the deteriorating health of Spaniards.

“Obesity in the population now stands at more than 17 per cent,” said Susana del Pozo, analysis director of the Spanish Nutrition Foundation.

“We are paying a price for these changes.”

Ironically, the falling appetite for the Mediterranean diet comes just as the rest of the world – and Spain’s own government – sings its praises.

Officials representing Italy, Greece, Morocco and Spain have presented a motion for the diet to be included in UNESCO’s World Intangible Heritage List.

Furthermore, it is now recommended by the American Heart Association.

Food scientists revealed that those who enjoy a Mediterranean diet are less likely to suffer from depression.

It is also claimed that the risk of dying from cancer or developing Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases also diminishes.

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