A clinical trial carried out in Spain by CIBEROBN researchers, who have analysed more than 3,200 patients for more than three years, has shown that people who follow a Mediterranean diet rich in extra virgin olive oil reduce the need to start antidiabetic treatment by up to 22 percent.
In the trial, framed in the 'PREDIMED' study and published in the journal 'Diabetes Care', participants were randomly assigned to three diets: Mediterranean with virgin olive oil, Mediterranean supplemented with mixed nuts and low-fat diet (control group).
According to Fernando Arós, senior author of the paper: "The reduced need for medication (either oral or injectable) with the Mediterranean diet pattern and extra virgin olive oil probably reflects the better glycaemic control that was obtained with this diet during the long follow-up of the 'PREDIMED' study".
The first author of the study, Javier Basterra-Gortari, from the Navarra Health Service and associated researcher at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Navarra, explains that the favourable effect "is probably due causally to the change achieved in the general composition of the dietary pattern used".
"It cannot be explained by consuming fewer calories, doing more physical activity or weight loss, as these aspects were not part of the trial and there were no differences between the three groups", he concludes.
Diabetes has been positioned as one of the biggest public health problems. Today, it affects more than 450 million people worldwide. In that sense, one in 10 Spanish adults suffers from this disease.