Mediterranean diet may lead to lower diabetes risk, according to a new study.
Following a Mediterranean diet can help to reduce the risk of diabetes, according to a new study. The benefits are particularly notable for individuals at risk for heart disease.
Researchers reviewed 19 studies, which covered a span of 5.5 years and studied approximately 162,000 people. The research, which will be presented at a recent conference of the American College of Cardiology on Saturday, March 30, found that adhering to a Mediterranean-style diet can lower the risk of diabetes by 21 percent.
The study data indicates that individuals who followed a Mediterranean diet, which primarily consists of fish, nuts, vegetables, and fruits, experienced the same results regardless of race, sex, age, or nationality.
The same diet lowered the risk of diabetes by 27 percent in people who are at high risk of developing heart disease, according to the study authors.
Lead investigator Demosthenes Panagiotakos, professor at Harokopio University in Athens, Greece, said, “Adherence to the Mediterranean diet may prevent the development of diabetes irrespective of age, sex, race, or culture.” He continued, “This diet has a beneficial effect, even in high-risk groups, and speaks to the fact that it is never too late to start eating a healthy diet.”
Panagiotakos explained that this study included both European and non-European participants, which is important because previous studies regarding effects of a Mediterranean diet have been European-based, leading to concerns that certain regional-specific factors such as genetics, environment, and lifestyle could alter the study results.
This latest study showed that following a Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of diabetes in both Europeans and non-Europeans. Panagiotakos said that this type of wide-scale analysis “is important to help inform guidelines and evidence-based care.”
He continued, “Diabetes is an ongoing epidemic and its relation to obesity, especially in the Westernized populations, is well known. We have to do something to prevent diabetes and changing our diet may be an effective treatment.”
The number of global diabetes cases has doubled over the last 30 years, an increase that has been linked to the expanding obesity epidemic.
Studies presented at meetings are generally considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.