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Type 2 diabetes risk increases with overweight and obesity. While the early signs of diabetes may not be immediately apparent, long-term complications can include nerve, kidney, and eye damage, increased stroke and heart disease risk, skin infections, and hearing loss.
Along with weight loss, doctors may recommend making dietary changes to help decrease a person’s risk of developing diabetes.
The Mediterranean diet—which consists mainly of vegetables, fruits, legumes, fish, olive oil, and nuts, with minimal dairy and meat—has shown promising results for diabetes prevention.
The glycemic load is a measure of the blood sugar-raising effects of a given amount of a food. Several studies have suggested that diets with higher glycemic loads can raise diabetes risk.
To further investigate the effects of the Mediterranean diet and eating foods with a lower glycemic load on diabetes risk, Italian researchers looked at the diets of 22,295 people who took part in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Eleven years after they collected dietary information from the participants, they used it to draw conclusions about the people’s risk of developing diabetes:
Most studies investigating the Mediterranean diet haven’t found an association between diet and weight loss. “This suggests that the protection of the Mediterranean diet against diabetes is not through weight control but through several dietary characteristics of the Mediterranean diet,” said lead study author, Dr. Carlo La Vecchia of The Mario Negri Institute, Milan.
In addition to following a Mediterranean diet, these tips can lower your diabetes risk: