Mediterranean diet: a protection against type 2 diabetes mellitus

The Mediterranean Diet is associated with numerous health benefits, as confirmed by a recent study published in the “JAMA Network Open”. Ahmad and collegues, from the Center for Lipid Metabolomics and Women’s Hospital in Boston, conducted a 25-year cohort study on 25,317 healthy women to assess whether high adherence to the Mediterranean Diet would reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

At baseline, participants answered lifestyle questions, completed the Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) to investigate dietary habits, and the MED Score (range 0-9) was used to assess adherence to the Mediterranean Diet. In addition, anthropometric measurements were taken, and a blood sample was collected from each participant. During the study, specific questionnaires were administered on an annual basis to assess the incidence of type 2 diabetes, and in case of a positive diagnosis, the participants were then contacted by telephone.

The results showed that participants with a higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet had a 30% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They also had a better lipid, inflammatory and metabolic profile than participants with a lower adherence to the Mediterranean Diet. Specifically, they showed significantly higher levels of HDL and significantly lower levels of total cholesterol, inflammatory biomarkers, insulin resistance and body mass index.

In conclusion, the authors emphasize the important role of the Mediterranean diet in reducing the risk of diseases such as diabetes. This effect could be mediated by a better lipid, inflammatory and metabolic profile.

Source: Ahmad S, Demler OV, Sun Q et al. Association of the Mediterreanean Diet With Onset of Diabetes in the Women’s Health Study. JAMA Network Open 2020;3(11):e2025466. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.25466