Greeks and Romans depended on a grain-based diet but would suffer from eye disorders, stinking disease, and distended bellies indicating vitamin deficiency.
A Comparison of Ancient Greek and Roman Sports Diets with Modern Day Practices
Greeks and Romans consumed a diet which was mainly based on cereal (carbohydrate), olive oil (lipid/fat) and wine . Milk, which could not be kept in a warm climate, was made into cheese, forming a major source of their protein intake . Such a diet would have provided for the fibre and carbohydrate needs, but seems to be somewhat lacking in protein and perhaps also in vitamins. Indeed, reports of medical ailments from the time often refer to eye disorders, “stinking disease” and distended bellies, suggesting that vitamin deficiency, symptomatic of modern day problems in areas of the world that depend heavily on grain as a staple part of their diet, may have been prevalent .