Extra-virgin olive oil and nuts may reduce the risk of diabetes.
New research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine has linked the Mediterranean diet with lower levels of diabetes in patients over 55.
The Mediterranean diet contains low diary and red meat consumption, paired with relatively high consumption of olive oil, fruits and vegetables, nuts and fish, and moderate wine consumption. It has become popular in recent decades.
The study followed 3,541 participants, men and women, between the ages of 55 and 80 over the course of four years. They were divided into three groups: one group was told to follow a Mediterranean diet with a higher use of extra-virgin olive oil, one group was told to follow a Mediterranean diet with higher consumption of nuts, and the final was a control group who were simply advised on how to follow a generally healthy, low fat diet.
After four years the group who consumed high levels of olive oil had 80 new cases of diabetes, the group who ate more nuts had 92 new cases, and the control group had 101 news cases of diabetes. These numbers corresponded with 16, 18.7, and 23.6 new cases of diabetes per 1000 person-years, respectively.
Both groups who followed the Mediterranean diet had better results at the end of the study than the standard low fat diet, although the olive oil group fared best. Still, results were similar given the size of the study, which should be taken into consideration.