Latest scientific news 15 June 2022

A Mediterranean dietary pattern can reduce type 2 diabetes risk

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is rising at an alarming rate worldwide and is becoming a public health priority. In 2021, it affected 537 million individuals and is responsible for 6.7 million deaths. Persons with diabetes are more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases and cancer.  T2D is the result of a combination of genetic predisposition, obesity and lifestyle factors such as smoking, sedentary lifestyle and poor diet, among others.

Some lifestyle changes can prevent T2D, the beneficial effects of a Mediterranean diet (Med Diet) on human health have been demonstrated more particularly. The Med Diet has been recognized as a dietary pattern with great palatability and can be easily adapted also in non-Mediterranean countries. It is characterized by high consumption of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, legumes, nuts and fish, moderate intake of low-fat dairy and alcoholic beverages, preferably wine, and a low intake of red meat. This eating pattern has demonstrated favorable impacts against cardiovascular diseases, cancer, cognitive dysfunction and mortality.

The current systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies examined the relation between adherence to the Med Diet and risk of type 2 diabetes in the general population. Data from 14 prospective studies was included to provide an updated overview.

The results showed that the risk of T2D decreased by 14% for each 2-points increase in the Med Diet adherence score, so a greater adherence to the Med Diet was significantly related to a lower T2D risk. The Med diet score includes – among fruits, vegetables, olive oil, legumes, etc. – also moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages, mostly wine.

Even after controlling for confounding factors like body mass index, physical activity, energy intake and smoking status, this relationship remained the same. The authors also assessed the risk of bias and certainty of evidence via the GRADE method and it was rated as moderate.

They concluded that their findings suggested a greater adherence to Med Diet was associated with a lower risk of T2D in a dose-response manner. The Med Diet is thus a healthy dietary pattern and could be useful in preventing T2D.

Source: Zeraattalab-Motlagh S, Jayedi A, Shab-Bidar S. Mediterranean dietary pattern and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Eur J Nutr. 2022 Jun;61(4):1735-1748. doi: 10.1007/s00394-021-02761-3. Epub 2022 Jan 10. PMID: 35001218.

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The results of a Spanish prospective cohort study with 1184 participants with prediabetes[1]  suggested a similar protective effect. A high adherence to Med diet can prevent the progression of diabetes in individuals with prediabetes compared with a low/medium adherence.

[1] prediabetes refers to situations where the levels of blood sugar are higher than normal but lower than levels required for the diagnosis of diabetes.

Source: Cea-Soriano L, Pulido J, Franch-Nadal J, Santos JM, Mata-Cases M, Díez-Espino J, Ruiz-García A, Regidor E; PREDAPS Study Group. Mediterranean diet and diabetes risk in a cohort study of individuals with prediabetes: propensity score analyses. Diabet Med. 2022 Jun;39(6):e14768. doi: 10.1111/dme.14768. Epub 2021 Dec 18. PMID: 34897805.

For more information about this article, click here.