A Type 2 diabetes diet which follows the dietary habits of
people living in the Mediterranean can reduce the risk
of developing diabetes by 12%.
Research at the University
of Athens conducted trials
involving 22,000 Greeks which showed following a diet rich in vegetables, fruit
and seafood combined with a diet low in carbohydrates reduces the risk of
diabetes by as much as 20%.
A typical Mediterranean diet contains a wide range of healthy vegetables including tomatoes, garlic, onions, olives, squash, salad leaves, spinach and broccoli.
Dairy products are mainly restricted to milk and yoghurt while much more use is made of spreads made of olive oil rather than the use of butter, which is high in fats.
Virgin olive oil contains a high ratio of mono-unsaturated fats (good fats) to saturated fatty acids.
Nuts, including foods derived from nuts, are often included
in daily meals. I well remember an occasion when holidaying in Crete
we came to a village during the chestnut harvest where great baskets of nuts
lined the road. We stopped at a café for a snack and before we left the café owner
presented us with a free bag of nuts to take on our journey.
Fish and seafood, rather than meat, are an important part of
the diet with the warm waters of the Mediterranean providing
an abundant variety of fresh fish. The omega-3 oils which they contain,
especially oily fish such as sardines and mackerel, are particularly beneficial
The research shows that those following the Greek diet were 12%
less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. While those combining that with a low
carbohydrate diet, deriving their carbohydrates mainly from bread and pasta, reduced
their risk by 20%.
Recent studies also conclude that sticking to a Mediterranean
lifestyle lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke by 30%.
The conclusion that can be drawn from these studies is that sticking to a Type 2 diabetes diet will contribute to healthier hearts and a longer life span.