Sunday 13 December 2009, 22:58

The protective role of the Mediterranean Diet against diabetes

How the Mediterranean diet may help to prevent and control type 2 diabetes

The protective role of the Mediterranean Diet against diabetes

It has been known for many years that the Mediterranean diet is a healthy, balanced dietary plan, with a proper content of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins.


The Mediterranean diet has been recently shown to be the most effective dietary plan for preventing and controlling insulin-independent diabetes (type 2 diabetes). Not only it can help patients lose weight and reduce cardiovascular risk factors, but it has been also proven successful in containing or avoiding the use of hypoglycaemic medications in recently affected patients.


In a research study conducted by Dr. Dario Giugliano and collaborators (University of Naples, Italy), they found that the Mediterranean diet was more effective than a low-fat diet in preventing the use of blood sugar-lowering medications in patients recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. At the end of the study, only 44% of patients fed with the Mediterranean diet needed hypoglycaemic drugs, versus 70% of patients fed with the low-fat diet.


Moreover cholesterol levels and blood pressure were lower in the Mediterranean diet group than in the low-fat diet group. This demonstrates that the Mediterranean diet may have also a positive role in reducing the incidence of cardiovascular diseases in type 2 diabetes patients.


But what exactly is the Mediterranean diet? It is a diet characterized by high intakes of cereals, vegetables, legumes, fruits, fish and unsaturated fats (olive oil) and low intakes of meat, poultry, dairy products, sweets and high-sugar foods. It is therefore a diet with a low content of sugars and saturated fatty acids.


Although additional studies are needed to confirm the positive role of the Mediterranean diet in managing type 2 diabetes, the results achieved by the italian researchers demonstrate that the cornerstone for the prevention and control of type 2 diabetes is diet, and precisely a low-sugar diet.


By Chiara De Carli

Category: Diabetes

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