Diabetes Risk Lowered With Mediterranean Diet

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Millions of people worldwide are diagnosed with diabetes everyday. While many cases can be managed with insulin and a strict diet, some people still suffer.

A new study, scheduled to be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Sessions today, reveals a new diet, called the Mediterranean Diet, that may help the people who are already diagnosed, or are at a high risk of developing diabetes.

The findings came from 19 studies which included over 162,000 people in different countries. They followed the studies for 5.5 years, and saw extreme improvements in those who strictly followed the Mediterranean Diet.

The Mediterranean Diet is composed of primarily fish, nuts, vegetables and fruits, and was associated with a 21 percent lower risk of diabetes. For people who were also at a high risk of developing heart disease, the diet helped lower the chance of developing diabetes by 27 percent.

“Adherence to the Mediterranean diet may prevent the development of diabetes irrespective of age, sex, race or culture,” said lead professor Demosthenes Panagiotakos, Ph.D. “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.”

Over the past 30 years, the number of diabetes cases has increased dramatically, essentially doubling in number. Researchers blame this on the obesity epidemic that is currently affecting Western civilizations.

“A meta-analysis captures the limitations of individual studies, and this type of study is important to help inform guidelines and evidence-based care,” Panagiotakos said. “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.”

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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