Could a Cheese and Wine Evening Save You from Diabetes?

The Mediterranean diet now has another feather in its wellness cap, thanks to a new large observational study. European research, published in the journal Diabetologia, has shown that if you follow a Mediterranean diet (which means chomping on fish, fruit and vegetables and healthy fats from olive oil), you’re potentially protecting your wellbeing against type 2 diabetes, especially compared to people who don’t go Mediterranean.


The study also discovered that a diet which a low-glycaemic load – meaning that it regulates your intake of carbs based on how they impact your blood sugar levels – can also lower your diabetes risk, while combining the best of both worlds and having a low-glycaemic Mediterranean diet means you’ll have the greatest benefit. These results are based on data from 22,295 people who were followed for more than 11 years. The researchers recorded dietary and diabetes information during this time, throughout which 2,330 people developed the type 2 variety of the disease.


In their study, the researchers wrote, ‘The influence of the Mediterranean diet against diabetes risk was independent of GL [glycaemic load] levels, and individuals with a high MDS [Mediterranean diet score] and a low GL tended to have the lowest diabetes risk. It is not difficult to envisage a low-GL Mediterranean diet, since olive oil and vegetables dominate this diet and do not contribute, or contribute only marginally, to the GL.’


The results of the study revealed that participants who were the most gung-ho for the Mediterranean diet were 12% less likely to develop diabetes than those who abided by it the least faithfully. At the other end of the scale, people who ate more carbs were 21% more likely to develop diabetes than the participants who consumed the fewest carbs. The researchers added, ‘the combined protection imparted by a diet with a high MDS and a low GI was about 20%.’



Still, this isn’t the only study to show how different diets can impact your diabetes risk:


1. Cheese. According to a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, cheese (despite it’s less-than-healthy reputation) can lower your risk of diabetes by 12%, and the more you eat, the more you protect yourself against the disease.


2. Tree nuts. Researchers from the Louisiana State University Agricultural Centre, who published their results in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, found that regularly eating tree nuts reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome. Nuts such as pistachios, walnuts, almonds and cashews lower your levels of an inflammation marker called C-reactive protein, which is associated with heart disease and other chronic conditions. Plus, they raise your levels of the “good” HDL cholesterol, and lower your BMI.


3. British fruits. Another American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that people who eat apples, pears and blueberries are at a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes than those who don’t eat these British beauties. The researchers looked at the diets of 200,000 people, and determined that it was the anthocyanins in the fruits that reduced diabetes risk; flavanoids, however, did not.


4. Alcohol. Yes, in moderation, drinking alcohol is linked with a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes for women with refined carb-heavy diets, according to an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study. Study researcher Frank Hu commented, ‘If you eat a high carb diet without drinking alcohol, your risk of developing diabetes is increased by 30%. However, if you eat a high carb diet, but (drink) a moderate amount of alcohol, the increased risk is reduced.’


I say it’s time for a cheese and wine evening, with a few fruity and nutty nibbles, don’t you?

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