The Mediterranean Diet, The Best Diet for Diabetes

Diet plays a critical role in controlling the symptoms of diabetes as well as preventing the many complications associated with this common disease. What is the best diet for diabetes control?

There’s little doubt that diet plays an important role in diabetes control. What a diabetic eats directly affects blood sugar and insulin levels. It’s also an important factor in preventing the many complications associated with diabetes including the number one killer of diabetics – heart disease. But, what is the best diet for diabetes control and the prevention of diabetic complications such as heart disease? A new study sheds some light on this issue. It compares a traditional low-fat diet with a Mediterranean-style diet to determine which is the better diet for diabetes control and management.

In this study, researchers assigned 215 people with diabetes to either a low-fat diet or a Mediterranean type low carb diet for four years. The researchers were interested in which diet for diabetes would prove best for keeping people off of diabetes medications. What did they find? The Mediterranean diet proved superior to the traditional low-fat diet. In fact, only forty-four percent of the participants on the Mediterranean diet required medications, while seventy percent of the ones who followed a low-fat diet ended up needing medications to control their blood sugars over the four year period.

A Mediterranean diet for diabetes control had other health benefits as well. The group who ate the Mediterranean diet showed improvement in their risk factors for heart disease and also experienced greater weight loss compared to the low-fat diet group. This is of particular importance since a lower weight means better blood sugar control. Heart disease is the most common cause of death in diabetic patients, so any diet that reduces the risk of heart disease is beneficial for this group.

What are the components of a Mediterranean diet for diabetes control? The Mediterranean diet emphasizes whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Less emphasis is placed on meat and when meat is eaten it’s usually fish which is rich in heart-healthy omega-3’s. Mediterranean cooks also use heart-healthy olive oil and avoid any foods or ingredients that contain trans-fats. In some areas of the Mediterranean, residents eat up to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day. The Mediterranean diet is a healthy diet not only for diabetics, but also for anyone who’s interested in achieving better health.

The bottom line?
A Mediterranean diet for diabetes control is almost a no-brainer. This diet is heart-healthy, rich in fiber, and low in simple, processed carbs – all of which work in a diabetic’s favor. The best way to transition over to a Mediterranean diet is to start substituting whole grains for processed grains and eat more fresh vegetables, fruits, and nuts in place of starchy side dishes and desserts. Not only will this help to better control blood sugars, but it may be the key to a healthier heart – something everyone can use.

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