MedDiets without calorie restriction seem to be effective in the prevention of diabetes in subjects at high cardiovascular risk.
The increasing incidence of type 2 diabetes throughout the world, closely linked to westernized dietary patterns, physical inactivity, and raising rates of obesity, is a challenging health problem. Lifestyle changes are effective measures to prevent diabetes, and weight loss is the main predictor of success. Five clinical trials that examined the effects of reputedly healthy, energy-restricted diets together with increased physical activity in individuals with impaired glucose tolerance, a prediabetic stage, showed risk reductions between 30 and 70%. The results of these studies provide convincing evidence that lifestyle modification reduces the incidence of diabetes among high-risk individuals. In four of these studies, diabetes rates decreased in relation to substantial reductions in body weight, whereas in the Indian trial lifestyle intervention was successful despite no weight loss. Observational studies have also shown that diets rich in vegetables and low in red meat and whole-fat dairy products are associated with a decreased risk of diabetes, whereas dietary patterns rich in red meats, processed foods, refined grains, and sweets increase diabetes risk.
The traditional Mediterranean diet (MedDiet), characterized by high consumption of vegetables, legumes, grains, fruits, nuts, and olive oil, moderate consumption of fish and wine, and low consumption of red and processed meat and whole-fat dairy products, is widely recognized as a healthy dietary pattern. Two prospective studies from Southern Europe suggested a lower incidence of diabetes with increasing adherence to the MedDiet in previously healthy individuals or myocardial infarction survivors. Recently, a clinical trial showed that, compared with a low-fat diet, a MedDiet allowed better glycemic control and delayed the need for antidiabetes drug treatment in patients with newly diagnosed diabetes. However, the role of the MedDiet in the prevention of diabetes has not been tested in a clinical trial.
We conducted a randomized controlled trial to compare the effect on diabetes incidence of three non–calorie-restricted nutritional interventions: a low-fat diet (control diet), a MedDiet enriched with virgin olive oil, and a MedDiet enriched with mixed nuts
Olive oil is truly emerging as one of the four or five “super-foods” with across-the-board health benefits. Make sure it’s a part of your daily intake.