Mediterranean Diet Reduces Incidence of Diabetes

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If you would like to lower your risk of diabetes, you might like to follow the Mediterranean diet.  

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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