Diabetes isn’t sexy, but a diet that may help control the sugar spikes certainly is sensual. If you want to ward off diabetes, try indulging in life like the Greeks and Italians do: Mediterranean-style. Previous research found that diabetics on the Mediterranean Diet had better glycemic control. Furthermore, they needed diabetes medications less often when adhering to the Mediterranean Diet as opposed to a simple low-fat diet.
Recently, a team of researchers in Spain conducted a study using data from a large clinical trial to determine the effects of the Mediterranean Diet on preventing the onset of Type 2 diabetes. Participants were followed for an average of four years. Upon completion of the study, 54 participants had developed diabetes — but the split varied significantly among groups. The researchers found that the risk of developing diabetes was reduced by 52 percent among both groups of people who followed the Mediterranean Diet plans compared to the low-fat control group. In analyzing diet adherence, the researchers further noted that the closer an individual followed the Med-Diet plan, the lower their risk of developing diabetes. Interestingly, the weight of all participants did not change significantly throughout the study, nor did it vary significantly among the three groups.
This study reinforces prior study results suggesting that the Mediterranean Diet may be protective against Type 2 diabetes.
What Is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean Diet, which is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats from nuts and olive oil, with moderate amounts of fish, low-fat dairy and wine, and minimal red and processed meats, is considered to be an especially healthy eating plan.
How to Indulge
But let’s step back from the research for a moment and think about what it means to be “Mediterranean.” When we transport our mind to the cultures of people living along the Mediterranean Sea, we think of svelte figures, endless socializing and sexy meals. Yes, if you really think about it, the food is quite sensual and people aren’t afraid to pass the time exploring its many nuances with friends and loved ones. To them, life is meant for living (and eating!), not counting calories or fighting the urge to indulge.
Savor everything. Savoring is about slowing down. It’s easy to do with a piece of decadent dark chocolate, but try it with your morning cinnamon raisin oatmeal — even if it means setting your alarm 10 minutes earlier. You’ll grow to appreciate these moments and the time you spend enjoying them.
Enjoy home-cooked meals with your loved ones. Start with quality ingredients and focus your meals around plant-based ingredients — try this recipe for inzimino, a garbanzo bean and vegetable stew. You can bond with your friends and family and decompress from a stressful day while chopping, stirring, and even doing the dishes.
Cut the meats and sweets. The Mediterranean Diet pyramid puts red meat, sweetened foods and drinks and desserts at the tip-top of the chart. This means that while they may be a part of your diet, they should be eaten sparingly. The tiny spoon you get with your dish of gelato is intentional — so are the brightly colored bowls, in my opinion. It’s fun, festive and the perfect size for savoring the dessert and the moment. The same goes for a steak — a couple of slices are better than a whole rack of ribs.
While it is important to keep a healthy weight in mind, be sure you keep it all in perspective. Choosing the delectable foods from the Mediterranean Diet can certainly help.
For more tips take a look at the Top 10 Super Foods to Control Diabetes.