Mediterranean diet reduces diabetes risk
New research has found that older people can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by following a Mediterranean diet. The study was published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
A Mediterranean diet consists of vegetables, fruit, beans, olive oil, whole grains and fish. Previous research has found a number of benefits to following this type of diet, including longer lifespan and overall better health in women, plus a reduced risk for stroke.
For the study, researchers analyzed 3,541 men and women without diabetes between 55 to 80 years old, who were at high risk for heart disease--a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
The participants were randomly assigned to follow one of three diets; The Mediterranean diet, the Mediterranean diet with 30g of mixed nuts each day, or a low-fat diet. The Mediterranean diet required that the participants consume 50 ml of extra-virgin olive oil each day.
During a four-year follow-up period, participants following the Mediterranean diet were given guidance by dieticians and instructed to eat more fruits, vegetables, beans and fish and avoid red or processed meat, butter and candy. None of the participants were asked to increase physical activity or reduce calorie intake.
Results showed that 273 participants had developed diabetes, of which 101 came from the low-fat diet group, 80 were from the Mediterranean with more extra-virgin olive oil, and 92 were from the Mediterranean diet with extra nuts group.
The researchers concluded that a Mediterranean diet without calorie restriction and supplemented with olive oil or nuts may reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes.