Does "the Mediterranean diet" include whole grains?

Recently I’ve been noticing descriptions like the one in this passage:

In the 1950s, researchers from across the globe embarked on a sweeping and ambitious study. For decades, they scrutinized the diets and lifestyles of thousands of middle-aged men living in the United States, Europe and Japan and then examined how those characteristics affected their risks of developing cardiovascular disease.

The Seven Countries Study, as it later became known, famously found associations between saturated fats, cholesterol levels and coronary heart disease. But the researchers also reported another notable result: Those who lived in and around the Mediterranean — in countries like Italy, Greece and Croatia — had lower rates of cardiovascular disease than participants who lived elsewhere. Their diets, rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, lean proteins and healthy fats, seemed to have a protective effect.

That all sounds right except, where did whole grains come from? I sure didn’t see much sign of people eating them in the several years I lived in Rome, and there few if any recipes for them in my Italian and Greek cookbooks.

I think this is just revisionism. What the Seven Countries Study web site actually says is:

Traditional Mediterranean diets had olive oil as their principal component of fat, were high in cereal products, legumes, fruit and vegetables, moderate in fish and low in dairy and meat products. Moderate amounts of wine were taken with meals.

The Italian diet is indeed high in cereal products in the form of pasta, bread, and in some regions rice and polenta, but not whole-grain versions of those.

Farro maybe?

It’s an interesting observation. Seems like they omitted all the unhealthy things people there eat to suit their purpose.

I think they’re using the modern American notion of a Mediterranean diet rather than the real one full of white flour and white rice.

“Almost nobody in Italy eats the Mediterranean diet,” said Dr. Longo, who has a breezy California manner and Italian accent. He added that many Italian children, especially in the country’s south, are obese, bloated on what he calls the poisonous five Ps — pizza, pasta, protein, potatoes and pane (or bread).