Diet Alone without Exercise Can Reduce risk of Diabetes

October 26, 2010

The title indeed is intriguing but it’s TRUE. 

For the first time, a study has looked at controlling food and specifying the kind of food without restricting it and without any exercise resulted in health benefit.  We always recommend the combination of proper healthy diet and exercise to achieve benefit but this new study published in Diabetes Care showed us otherwise.

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Objective – To test the effects of two Mediterranean-diet interventions versus a low-fat diet on incidence of diabetes.

Research Design and Methods – Three-arm randomized trial in 418 nondiabetic subjects aged 55-80 years recruited in one center (PREDIMED-Reus, North-Eastern Spain) of the PREDIMED study, a large nutrition-intervention trial for primary cardiovascular prevention in persons at high cardiovascular risk. Participants were randomized to education on a low-fat diet (control group) or one of two Mediterranean diets, supplemented with either free virgin olive oil (1 liter/week) or nuts (30 g/day). Diets were ad libitum and no advice on physical activity was given.

The main outcome was diabetes incidence diagnosed by the 2009 American Diabetes Association criteria. Results – After a median follow-up of 4.0 years, diabetes incidence was 10.1% (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.1-15.1), 11.0% (5.9-16.1), and 17.9% (11.4-24.4) in the Mediterranean-diet with olive oil group, the Mediterranean-diet with nuts group, and the control group, respectively. Multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios of diabetes were 0.49 (0.25-0.97) and 0.48 (0.24-0.96) in the Mediterranean-diet groups supplemented with olive oil and nuts, respectively, compared to the control group. When pooling the two Mediterranean-diet groups compared to the control group, diabetes incidence was reduced by 52% (27-86). In all study arms, increased adherence to the Mediterranean-diet was inversely associated with diabetes incidence. Diabetes risk reduction occurred in the absence of significant changes in body weight or physical activity.

Conclusion – Mediterranean diets without calorie restriction appear to be effective in the prevention of diabetes in subjects at high cardiovascular risk.

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The traditional Mediterranean diet, which was recommended in the present study,included the following components:

  • Use of olive oil for cooking and dressing.
  • Increased consumption of fruit, vegetables, legumes, and fish.
  • Reduction in total meat consumption, white meat instead of red meat.
  • Use of homemade sauce with tomato, garlic, onion, and spices with olive oil to dress vegetables, pasta, rice, and other dishes.
  • No No to butter, cream, fast-food, sweets, pastries, and sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • In alcohol drinkers, moderate consumption of red wine.

This diet is not difficult to follow.  In fact, the study showed no restriction resulting in no weight loss.  Remember, this is to see if this diet can indeed help lower the diabetes risk and not specifically to reduce weight.  Calorie intake continues to be a factor in affecting ones weight. 

In short, if one aims for both risk reduction and weight loss, then simply restricting calories using this diet plus exercise should achieve optimal benefit!

This diet resulted in a 52% reduction in the risk of developing diabetes. This reduction is understandable considering that the diet is rich in monounsaturated fats as well as anitoxidants known to combat the risk factors of chronic ailments including heart disease…suggesting that long term, this diet should also help reduce risk for heart disease.

But…dont aim for less…aim for more…

Please do continue to aim to be more physically active and achieve OPTIMAL benefit for Your HEALTH!

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One Response to “Diet Alone without Exercise Can Reduce risk of Diabetes”

  1. HeartSavior Says:

    As we get older we tend to experience certain health conditions that some may consider as part of the aging process, like having high cholesterol. Getting the right food, exercise and knowing the ways to lower your cholesterol naturally brings a lot of advantages to prevent or at least control them.


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