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Mediterranean Diet May Help Prevent Diabetes

For those at risk for CV disease, diet may be useful for diabetes prevention

THURSDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Non-calorie-restricted Mediterranean diets (MedDiets) high in unsaturated fat can help prevent diabetes onset in people at high cardiovascular risk, according to research published in the January issue of Diabetes Care.

Jordi Salas-Salvado, M.D., Ph.D., of the Hospital Universitari de Sant Joan in Reus, Spain, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial of 418 patients without diabetes who were at-risk for cardiovascular disease. The subjects were recruited from the Prevencion con Dieta Mediterranea (PREDIMED) study.

After a median follow-up of four years, the researchers found that incidence of diabetes was 10.1 percent in the MedDiet group, which included supplements of olive oil, 11.0 percent in the MedDiet group, which included supplements of nuts, and 17.9 percent in the group that was educated about a low-fat diet. When comparing both MedDiet groups together against the low-fat group, incidence of diabetes was reduced by 52 percent. For all groups, better observance of the MedDiet was inversely associated with diabetes. Reduced diabetes risk occurred despite insignificant changes in physical activity or body weight.

"Education of the population on the MedDiet might be a safe public health approach to delay or prevent development of diabetes as well as that of other prevalent chronic diseases," the authors write.

Two of the authors have received research funding from nut companies and are nonpaid members of their advisory boards.

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