The PREDIMED protocol.

PREDIMED stands for PREvencion con DIeta MEDiterranean. The study’s lead author, Professor Ramon Etruch from the University of Barcelona, coordinated this trial involving a number of clinical centres throughout Spain. The study examined the health outcomes of consuming a Mediterranean diet in approximately 7500 subjects considered at high risk for cardiovascular disease. This group included a large number of diabetic subjects. The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine 2013.

The study group were split into two Mediterranean diet groups, one having an extra 50 ml of olive oil per day and the other an extra 30g of mixed nuts. Their heart disease and stroke events were compared to a control study group who followed a typical low fat diet as recommended by the American Heart Association. There were very clear advantages of both Mediterranean diet study groups compared with the control group eating a low fat diet with about 30% less cardiovascular events reported.

The conclusion from PREDIMED was that for people at high risk of cardiovascular disease, the risk of heart disease and stroke is very significantly reduced by consuming a Mediterranean diet. This study will be of great interest to people with diabetes who by nature of the disease have a high risk of these problems.

This study is also in support of the conclusions of both the Vegetarian Health Studies in America and the EPIC studies in Europe where consuming a diet high in plant based products were found to increase longevity and reduce morbidity from chronic diseases like diabetes. The study also demonstrated a high adherence rate in contrast to the very high drop out rate when people take up a low calorie or a low carbohydrate diets or when they opt for a specific diet like the Dukan diet.

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