The ‘Mediterranean diet’ — rich in fish, whole grains, fruit, and vegetables, and including moderate amounts of red wine — is widely believed to protect against a number of diseases. A new study has now tried settle the issue once and for all by eliminating potentially confounding variables to get clear information about one disease area at a time.
The message from a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine seems to be that a Mediterranean diet plus olive oil can protect against diabetes.
3500 volunteers were divided into one of three diets: a Mediterranean diet plus 50 millilitres of extra virgin olive oil each day; a Mediterranean diet plus 30 grams of mixed nuts daily; or a control diet giving advice on eating less fat, and more beans, fish, fruits, and vegetables while avoiding red or processed meat, butter, and sweets. The idea was to change only one the type of diet: they did not give advice on calorie control or physical activity.
Miguel Martınez-Gonzalez, Chair of the department of Preventative Medicine, University of Navarra said:
“We found a 40 per cent reduction in the risk of diabetes after a mean follow up of four years in the first group compared to the control group and non significant 18 per cent reduction in the risk of diabetes in the second group compared to the control group. So we merged the two Mediterranean diet groups together we found a 30 per cent reduction in the risk of diabetes this is the first time that in a randomised trial with more than 3 500 participants a reduction in the risk of new cases of diabetes is observed without doing anything to reduce total calorie intake or to increase physical activity”
Calorie reduction and physical activity are — of course — vital for preventing Type-II diabetes, but it is now clear that overall diet can make a big difference too, and the dietary pattern they chose was one that patients can enjoy. Dr Martinez told AudioMedica.com there wasn’t any noticeable weight gain in any of the three groups so they were all — presumably — eating the same quantities of calories:
“I think that the Mediterranean diet is attractive, it is enjoyable so this is good news, especially this aspect of higher intake of fat make it more palatable so you can get very good adherence to this dietary pattern in your patients It is easily adopted by your patients. Our participants were very happy to follow this dietary pattern.
SOURCE: “Prevention of Diabetes With Mediterranean Diets A Subgroup Analysis of a Randomized Trial”
Ann Intern Med. 2014;160(1):1-10-10.
Link : http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1811025
Miguel A. Martínez-González, MD, PhD
Chair of the department of Preventative Medicine, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain