Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of diabetes between 18 and 40%. This is one of many conclusions to which researchers have come after analyzing the results of the Predimed study.
PREDIMED is the largest study about the Mediterranean diet and its effects on health, which involved a total of 7,447 people between 55 and 80 years, who either had diabetes or were predisposed to cardiovascular disease. Randomly, the participants were asked to follow three different diets: Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil, Mediterranean diet supplemented with a mixture of nuts, and other low-fat diet.
After 9 years of research, the team concluded that individuals who followed a Mediterranean diet enriched with extra virgin oil olive or nuts had, respectively, 40% and 18% lower risk of suffering diabetes compared with those who followed a low-fat diet.
In addition, patients in the study who followed the Mediterranean diet enjoyed a longer period before needing medicines to treat the disease. Also, in comparison with those assigned to the low fat diet, most of Mediterranean diet patients experienced remission in their diabetes.
After six years, all the people in the low-fat diet had to medicate to treat diabetes. However, it was not until eight years later that those in the Mediterranean diet group required medication.
The reason is that the fats included in the Mediterranean diet are healthy fats (olive oil, nuts, fish…) that contribute to weight loss and are good for the heart, so eliminating them from our meals may lead to health problems.
In the future they should review some nutritional recommendations
This sentence from Jordi Salas Salvado, nutrition expert, illustrates that adopting a healthy dietary pattern like the Mediterranean is capable, by itself, to prevent diabetes. This theory, developed by researchers from Predimed study results, may change for the first time current international recommendations to prevent or delay diabetes through a concrete diet.
In short, for people recently diagnosed with diabetes (type 2), taking an appropriate amount of olive oil, fish and nuts slows disease progression rather than restricting fats.
A worldwide growing problem
Diabetes is a disease present worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, in the past three decades, the prevalence of diabetes worldwide has more than doubled. There are over 180 million diabetics worldwide, and these numbers are expected to double in 2030 and, over the next 10 years, death caused by diabetes will increase by 50%.
This study about Diabetes has been developed by the Human Nutrition Team from Sant Joan de Reus Hospital, Pere i Virgili Health Research Institute (IISPV), Rovira i Virgili University, and CIBER Obesity and Nutrition of Carlos III Health Institute, under the direction of Dr. Jordi Salas Salvado (URV) in collaboration with the Primary Attention Network from Institut Català de la Salut, directed by Dr. Josep Basora.