Mediterranean diet for type 2 diabetes: cardiometabolic benefits

Abstract

Dietary patterns influence various cardiometabolic risk factors, including body weight, lipoprotein concentrations, and function, blood pressure, glucose–insulin homeostasis, oxidative stress, inflammation, and endothelial health. The Mediterranean diet can be described as a dietary pattern characterized by the high consumption of plant-based foods, olive oil as the main source of fat, low-to-moderate consumption of fish, dairy products and poultry, low consumption of red and processed meat, and low-to-moderate consumption of wine with meals. The American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association recommend Mediterranean diet for improving glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes. Prospective studies show that higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with a 20–23 % reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, while the results of randomized controlled trials show that Mediterranean diet reduces glycosylated hemoglobin levels by 0.30–0.47 %, and is also associated with a 28–30 % reduced risk for cardiovascular events. The mechanisms by which Mediterranean diet produces its cardiometabolic benefits in type 2 diabetes are, for the most, anti-inflammatory and antioxidative: increased consumption of high-quality foods may cool down the activation of the innate immune system, by reducing the production of proinflammatory cytokines while increasing that of anti-inflammatory cytokines. This may favor the generation of an anti-inflammatory milieu, which in turn may improve insulin sensitivity in the peripheral tissues and endothelial function at the vascular level and ultimately act as a barrier to the metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and development of atherosclerosis.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported in part by the “Associazione Salute con Stile”.

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Correspondence to Katherine Esposito.

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Esposito, K., Maiorino, M.I., Bellastella, G. et al. Mediterranean diet for type 2 diabetes: cardiometabolic benefits. Endocrine 56, 27–32 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12020-016-1018-2

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Keywords

  • Mediterranean diet
  • Cardiometabolic risk
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Glycemic control
  • Cardiovascular events