Mediterranean diet may lower diabetes risk

Sticking to a Mediterranean diet may help older individuals cut their risk for developing type 2 diabetes, according to a new study from Spanish researchers.

Their findings, which were published in the journal Diabetes Care, indicate that individuals may be able to avoid the condition by eating a diet that is rich in plant-based foods, even without adding exercise to their daily routine.

Researchers from the University of Rovira i Virgili in Reus examined 418 older Spanish individuals who were diabetes-free, but had three risk factors for the condition, including heart disease, high blood pressure, smoking or excess weight. Half of the group was assigned to go on a low-fat diet, while the others were instructed to begin eating a Mediterranean diet.

During the course of the four-year study, 10 to 11 percent of participants in the Mediterranean diet group develop diabetes, compared to 18 percent in the low-fat group.

"Mediterranean diets without calorie restriction appear to be effective in the prevention of diabetes in subjects at high cardiovascular risk," the authors wrote in their report.
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