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4 Public Health Claims Covering Type 2 Diabetes and the Mediterranean Diet

Everyone has an opinion on the best diet to follow to prevent or help manage type 2 diabetes. Let's take a look at what some of the top diabetes organizations have to say:

1. IDF - International Diabetes Federation

IDF mentions how some research shows that up to 80% of cases of type 2 diabetes can actually be prevented by a healthy diet (1). They go further to state that a healthy diet includes, “replacing saturated fats (eg. cream, cheese, butter) with unsaturated fats (eg. avocado, nuts, olive and vegetable oils)” (1).

IDF shares its recommendations for a healthy diet for both diabetic and the general population. They recommend choosing unsaturated fats like extra virgin olive oil, instead of saturated fats such as butter, coconut oil, and margarine. (2).

2. ADA - American Diabetes Association

The ADA recommends eating more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (3). Extra virgin olive oil is a great source of monounsaturated fat, and fish like salmon and trout are good sources for polyunsaturated fats.

The ADA discusses ways to incorporate more monounsaturated fats into your diet, including substituting olive oil instead of saturated fats like butter or margarine (4).

3. Diabetes Canada - Canadian Diabetes Association

Diabetes Canada shares in their Diabetes Care Quick Reference Guide that type 2 diabetics should be following a healthy dietary pattern, which they mention as the Mediterranean diet and low glycemic index diet (5).

Diabetes Canada also offers resources to help prevent type 2 diabetes. They state that eating healthy is one of the main ways to reduce your risk of developing diabetes and the diets they mention as helpful tools to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes development are the DASH Diet and Mediterranean diet (6). They speak even further about the Mediterranean diet and state that it may have benefits for cardiovascular health for those who are overweight and have type 2 diabetes (6). Diabetes Canada mentions the following foods as helping to prevent diabetes, vegetables, whole grains, oily fish, nuts, and olive oil (6). It is no coincidence that these foods are also key components in the Mediterranean diet.

4. NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

The NIH recommends that diabetics should be eating foods with heart healthy fats, such as olive oil (7).

Overall, incorporating extra virgin olive oil into your diet, and the Mediterranean diet are both recommended by many of the leading diabetes organizations. Extra virgin olive oil is a great source of monounsaturated fats, which can be used in place of saturated fats like butter to promote cardiovascular health. The Mediterranean diet is viewed and recommended by many organizations as a healthy diet, and some of the main food groups it focuses on, like whole grains, vegetables, and olive oil, can even lead to a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Written by Isabelle Hammack
Reviewed by Kelly Powers, MA, RDN, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who takes a holistic approach to nutrition and health. Kelly is a recipe developer with a food blog highlighting whole foods, simple recipes, and her life in San Francisco. She’s the creator of 52 Weeks, a weekly meal plan program that helps users get back in the kitchen and feed themselves well. Kelly is also a co-founder of Olivaio.