A new study shows that a Mediterranean diet, as well as low-carb diets, can offer protection against type 2 diabetes. The research paper was published in the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, its author is Dr. Carlo La Vechchia (Dr. CarloLaVecchia, MarioNegri Institute of Pharmacological Research).
Dr. La Vecchia and his colleagues studied Greek patients, who were also participants in the ongoing cancer and nutrition study (EPIC). Of the 22,295 people who have been actively monitored for eleven years, 2,330 cases of type 2 diabetes have been reported. To assess the dietary habits of participants, the latter were asked to fill out a questionnaire, and scientists also developed a ten-point grading scale for the Mediterranean diet and for a low-carb diet.
Individuals with more than six points in relation to the Mediterranean diet were 12% less likely to develop diabetes; individuals with the highest amount of carbohydrates in the diet were 21% more likely to develop the disease. A high score on the Mediterranean diet combined with the lowest amount of carbohydrates available reduced the risk of diabetes by 20% compared to a combination of a large number of Mediterranean scores with the highest amount of carbohydrates available.
According to the authors of the study, the role of the Mediterranean diet regarding weight loss is still controversial, which suggests that it protects against diabetes not through weight control, but probably through some specific dietary properties and characteristics. However, this issue is difficult to study in cohort studies due to a lack of information regarding changes in weight during observation of participants.
Scientists believe that the use of pure olive oil in the Mediterranean diet leads to a high ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fatty acids.