I have written a lot about the many benefits of the Mediterranean diet. There are many different types of diets out there, but I’ve consistently ranked the Mediterranean diet as the best. A new study has found yet another example why I consistently place this diet at the top of my health and anti-aging list.
The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that those following a Mediterranean diet—high in vegetables, whole grains, fruit, legumes, fish, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, and wine but low in dairy products—decreased their risk for type 2 diabetes by 30% compared with people who were eating a standard low-fat diet! This was after almost five years of follow up. There was no restriction of calories at all in this case so people could eat as much as they wanted. The people who consumed the Mediterranean diet were also better able to adhere to the diet than the second group.
Diabetes affects about 26 million Americans, costing over $175.0 billion a year in healthcare expenses, and this study shows that following a healthy diet like the Mediterranean diet over the long term could help reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
Now, although I couldn’t agree more with this conclusion, the problem is that this diet goes against what’s become typical public health policy: the promotion of a low-fat, high-carbohydrate and moderate dairy diet. What’s unfortunate, however, is that research is clearly pointing us in the other direction and away from these outdated recommendations.
In a smaller trial, the same researchers found that the risk of developing diabetes in high-risk individuals decreased by 50% when they consumed the Mediterranean diet for an average of four years contrasted to those on a lower fat diet.
The Mediterranean diet is typically lower in high-glycemic carbohydrates and fiber and higher in essential fats from fish, nuts, avocado, and extra virgin olive oil. The diet also contains lots of vegetables, legumes, seeds, fruit and wine which can lower high levels of inflammation.
The Mediterranean diet keeps blood sugar and insulin levels lower. It also controls blood pressure, cholesterol, and keeps fat storage to a minimum. This style of healthy eating prevents insulin resistance despite caloric intake and has been shown to substantially lower the risks for developing killer diseases like metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
This diet is also quite beneficial if you currently are obese or suffer from diabetes and heart disease as it can reduce high blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, and markers of inflammation.
It remains my favourite diet! With all those benefits, can you blame me?
Tucker, M., “Mediterranean Diet Cuts Type 2 Diabetes Risk by a Third,” Medscape web site; http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/818683, last accessed Jan.15, 2014.
Nainggolan, L., “New PREDIMED Data: Mediterranean Diet Halves Incidence of New-Onset Diabetes,” Medscape web site; http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/730619, last accessed Jan. 15, 2014.
Salas-Salvado, J., et al., “Prevention of Diabetes With Mediterranean Diets: A Subgroup Analysis of a Randomized Trial,” Ann Intern Med 2014; 160(1): 1-10.