Split, Croatia

In the lat­est trial of the ongo­ing inter­ven­tion study PREDIMED, Spanish researchers found that fol­low­ing a Mediterranean diet may cut the risk of dia­betes by about 30 per­cnt com­pared to the con­trol diet, which was char­ac­ter­ized as a low fat diet.

The study pub­lished in the Annals of Internal Medicine, involved 3,541 men and women who were a sub­group of the larger PREDIMED study that enrolled over 7,000 par­tic­i­pants from seven com­mu­ni­ties in Spain since 2003. The men and women for this par­tic­u­lar trial were between 55 and 80 years of age and at high risk for heart dis­ease, but with­out dia­betes.

As is stan­dard with the PREDIMED study, the par­tic­i­pants were assigned to one of three diets: Mediterranean diet sup­ple­mented with extra-vir­gin olive oil, Mediterranean diet sup­ple­mented with nuts, or a con­trol diet (par­tic­i­pants were advised to fol­low a low fat diet). The par­tic­i­pants were not asked to exer­cise or lose weight.

At fol­low up which was on aver­age 4.1 years, 101 indi­vid­u­als from the con­trol group devel­oped dia­betes, while only 80 indi­vid­u­als from the olive oil Mediterranean diet group devel­oped the dis­ease. The researchers noted that adher­ence was much higher in the Mediterranean diet groups and con­cluded that a Mediterranean diet enriched with extra vir­gin olive oil with­out caloric lim­i­ta­tions may reduce dia­betes risk in indi­vid­u­als with a high heart dis­ease risk.

This is not the first time that the Mediterranean diet has been found to have a pre­ven­ta­tive effect against dia­betes. In 2011 a smaller trial (418 par­tic­i­pants) of the PREDIMED study showed that a Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of type II dia­betes by almost 50 per­cent com­pared to a low fat diet.



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