Spanish researchers report that the Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of developing diabetes by 50% in middle-aged and older Spaniards, compared with a low-fat diet.
Over 400 people participated in a trial comparing two Mediterranean diets and a low-fat diet. Over the course of four years, 10 or 11% of the Mediterraneans developed type 2 diabetes, compared to 18% of the low-fatters. One of the Mediterranean diets favored olive oil, the other promoted nut consumption.
We’ve seen previously that the Mediterranean diet prevents diabetes—not all cases, of course—in folks who have had a heart attack. It also reduced the risk of diabetes in younger, generally healthy people in Spain.
The study at hand is not ground-breaking. It enhances the body of evidence that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest around. I suppose another way to look at this study would be to say that the low-fat diet caused diabetes.
Reference: Salas-Salvado, Jordi, et al. Reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes with the Mediterranean diet: Results of the PREDIMED-Reus Nutrition Intervention Randomized Trial. Diabetes Care, epub ahead of print, October 7, 2010. doi: 10.2337/dc150-1288