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Strong Association between Mediterranean Diet and Lower Risk of Diabetes

The benefits of the Mediterranean diet appear to be the same cross-culturally… 

The Mediterranean diet focuses on plant-based foods, including vegetables, whole grains, fruits, legumes and nuts. It also limits red meat and sodium consumption, promotes fish and poultry, and endorses healthy sources of fats, such as olive oil. The Mediterranean diet also promotes red wine consumption in small quantities. Research over the years has shown the Mediterranean diet to be beneficial especially for diabetes patients.

At the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Scientific Session, researchers from Harokopio University, Greece, shared the results of a new trial which further confirm prior evidence pertaining to the benefits of this diet in diabetic patients and those at risk of cardiovascular disease.

Using pooled analysis studies, scientists showed that adherence to this diet was associated with a 21% reduction of risk for developing diabetes when compared to control groups. Researchers reviewed 19 studies, including both European and non-European populations, and included over 162,000 participants for an average of 5.5 years. In this analysis, researchers excluded all non-randomized studies, studies which did not address diet and diabetes and those which included people who already had diabetes or pre-diabetes. In the majority of studies included in this analysis, diet was assessed by food frequency questionnaires. In a subgroup of patients with a high risk of cardiovascular disease, this reduction of risk was even lower – approximately 27%.

In the past, many similar studies were done on Europeans, which made many experts wonder if results would be similar among those of non-European decent.

Practice Pearls:
  • Diabetes is an ongoing epidemic with a strong association to obesity
  • The Mediterranean diet has been linked to a decreased risk of diabetes
  • Regardless of age, sex, culture or ethnic background, the potential benefits of the Mediterranean diet appear the same

American College of Cardiology. "Strong association between Mediterranean diet and lower risk of diabetes." presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session, 2014