Mediterranean Diet May Lower Diabetes Risk
Patients with diabetes know that one of the most important issues associated with the disease is side-effects, particularly cardiovascular problems. While doctors have long been touting the benefits of a low-fat diet for individuals with diabetes, encouraging them to lose weight by counting calories in addition to their normal regimen of monitoring blood glucose levels via products such as Accuchek lancets, Contour test strips, or Prodigy auto code devices, and while medicines including insulin and metformin are also a major part of managing diabetes, there is another potentially vital component. A recent study conducted in Spain indicates that a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil may provide those at risk for diabetes and diabetes-related complications a reduced risk. In addition to lowering the overall risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, the diet was shown to also reduce the potential for developing heart-related complications.
The study followed a group of over 3,500 patients over the course of seven years from 2003 to 2010, and was recently published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. The patients were randomly assigned to one of three diets: a Mediterranean diet supplemented with either two ounces of extra-virgin olive oil, one supplemented with an ounce of mixed nuts a day, or a control group advised to eat a low-fat diet. The study followed up on one that included patients who had already developed Type 2 diabetes; those patients who developed diabetes over the course of the more recent study were required to take medications as usual, as well as to monitor their blood glucose levels, using Accuchek lancets, Prodigy auto code devices, or Contour test strips as they preferred. The patients who were on the Mediterranean diet with additional olive oil had a 40% lower risk of developing diabetes, while those with the supplementary nuts had an 18% lower risk of developing the disease.
Those patients who had already developed diabetes in the original study were found to have a lower risk of cardiovascular complications, and those who did not develop diabetes were also at a reduced cardiovascular risk. The scientists reviewing the study data concluded that the anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil likely contributed to the strong health benefits that the diet conferred to patients with diabetes as well as those at risk for developing the disease. In addition, the diet was easier for patients to adhere to, with the majority of the participants able to maintain the diet compared to the low-fat diet control group. The most surprising aspect of the study’s findings was that the benefits were conferred to patients even without weight loss—a finding that surprised the medical researchers, because of the fact that traditional wisdom dictates that the single best treatment for pre-diabetic and diabetic conditions is weight loss. It may be a good idea to discuss changing over to a Mediterranean diet with your doctor, as an additional way to protect yourself against the side effects of diabetes. Alongside the use of contour test strips, prodigy auto code meters, or Accuchek lancets in monitoring blood glucose levels, the diet may provide a much better quality of life for diabetics.
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