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How does the Mediterranean diet help prevent diabetes?

Jill A. Grimes, MD
Family Medicine
A recent study showed that the Mediterranean diet can reduce the incidence of diabetes, even if you don't lose weight. The Mediterranean diet consists of lots of olive oil, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and fish, along with moderate red wine. Doctors have known for years that weight loss will reduce your chance of developing diabetes if you are overweight, but this was the first significant study to show that simply a change in the types of foods you eat -- regardless of the total calories -- can make a difference.

The Mediterranean diet can help prevent diabetes because it is low in carbohydrates and high in vegetables, grains and fish. Also absent from the Mediterranean diet is a large amount of red meat, often found in the typical American diet. If one follows this diet carefully, the results can lead to a low body weight, which in and of itself can help prevent acquiring type 2 diabetes.
Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics

A Mediterranean diet can help prevent diabetes because it contains lots of health promoting foods. Fish, olives, olive oil, and nuts, all in abundance on a Mediterranean diet, contain omega 3 fats which are great for your heart and brain. Fruits, vegetables, and beans are also abundant. These foods crowd out the more fatty, refined, and processed foods most people eat. Mediterranean diets help promote optimal weight which reduces your chances of developing diabetes.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.