Mediterranean Diet Preferable to Low-Fat Diet in Lowering Diabetes Risk

A study published on the Diabetes Care website (October 7, 2010) has announced that a Mediterranean diet is preferable to a low fat diet in preventing type 2 diabetes mellitus. The study was led by Universitari de Sant Joan’s Jordi Salas-Salvadó, M. D., Ph. D.

The study followed 418 non-diabetic subjects between the ages of 55 and 80 who were at high cardiovascular risk. Over a period of 4 years three groups of participants were assigned to different dietary regimens: the Mediterranean diet supplemented with 1 litre of olive oil per week; the Mediterranean diet supplemented with 30g of nuts per week; and a low fat diet, which served as the control group.

During the follow-up researchers found the highest incidence of diabetes in the control group, with 17.9% of individuals having developed the disease. There was a 10.1% incidence in the group consuming the Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil, and 11.0% in the group consuming the Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts.

Researchers concluded that an increased adherence to the Mediterranean diet was inversely related to diabetes incidence in subjects at high cardiovascular risk. Heavy consumption of olive oil and vegetables, supplemented by nuts, is estimated to reduce the risk of diabetes by 52%.