A new study found that Mediterranean diet lowers the risk of diabetes by half over four years when compared to a low-fat diet. This benefit occurred without the need to change body weight or physical activity.
The study, Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea (PREDIMED), a multicenter, randomized, parallel-group primary-prevention trial to assess the effects of two Mediterranean diets (supplemented with either extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts) vs a low-fat diet on cardiovascular and other chronic-disease outcomes in persons at high cardiovascular risk in Spain.
In this study, 418 nondiabetic subjects aged 55 to 80 years were randomized to the low-fat diet (control group), or one of two Mediterranean diets supplemented with either free virgin olive oil (1 L/week) or nuts (30 g/day).
The principal components defining a traditional Mediterranean diet are:
– Abundant use of olive oil for cooking and dressing.
– Increased consumption of fruit, vegetables, legumes, and fish.
– Reduction in total meat consumption, recommending white meat instead of red or processed meat.
– Preparation of homemade sauce with tomato, garlic, onion, and spices with olive oil to dress vegetables, pasta, rice, and other dishes.
– Avoidance of butter, cream, fast-food, sweets, pastries, and sugar-sweetened beverages.
– In alcohol drinkers, moderate consumption of red wine.
After a median follow-up of four years, patients who followed the Mediterranean-diet-with-olive-oil group, the Mediterranean-diet-with-nuts had 51% and 52% reduction in diabetic risk when compared with the control group.
The study indicated that Mediterranean diet might be a safe public-health approach to delay or prevent development of diabetes.
References: Diabetes Care 2010: DOI:10.2337/dc10-1288.
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