Can a Mediterranean Diet Prevent Type 2 Diabetes?

The Mediterranean diet has been known to be one of the healthiest diets in the world. It primarily focuses on whole foods, such as beans, legumes, whole grains, vegetables, and healthy fats like nuts, olives, and extra virgin olive oil. With its abundant consumption of nutrient-rich foods, the Mediterranean diet can be a delicious and healthy diet for many different types of people. The Mediterranean diet can also be an effective and useful diet in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. 

Mediterranean diet and diabetes prevention:

In a recent cohort study, Martinez-Gonzalez et al. determined that “a traditional Mediterranean food pattern is associated with a significant reduction in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes” (1). The preventative effect of a Mediterranean diet on type 2 diabetes is due to a couple of reasons. One of the main reasons is that a Mediterranean diet can decrease insulin resistance. In a randomized study, participants with metabolic syndrome were put on a Mediterranean diet and their results were measured after 2 years. Their results showed that a Mediterranean diet decreased insulin resistance, as well as reducing the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the participants (2). Because metabolic syndrome increases the risk of type 2 diabetes development, this means that a Mediterranean diet can help prevent type 2 diabetes by this aspect in addition to decreasing insulin resistance.

Research also shows that higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes (1). Martinez-Gonzalez et al. said that “Higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, plant-based foods … but low in meats was inversely associated with incidence of type 2 diabetes among initially healthy participants” (1). This means that adhering to a primarily Mediterranean style diet can help individuals prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.

Implementing a Mediterranean style diet into your life can provide many benefits, with one main benefit being decreasing the risk of type 2 diabetes development. With a primary component of the Mediterranean diet being extra virgin olive oil, it could be beneficial to add Olivaio into your life as well. By incorporating extra virgin olive oil, with traditional Mediterranean dishes, you are sure to benefit your taste buds as well as your health.

To learn more about ways to plan snacks with diabetes, or incorporate extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) or a Mediterranean style diet into your cooking, visit our recipe page

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.