Mediterranean Diet & Diabetes
By Fotini Mavropoulou
Dietitian – Nutritionist (BSc)
What is Diabetes:
Diabetes mellitus is a common metabolic disease characterized by high levels
blood glucose (sugar). In diabetes, the body produces less or no insulin or
uses insulin ineffectively. Increased blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and metabolic disorders
of glucose occurs either as a result of decreased insulin secretion or due to
Decreased sensitivity of the body’s cells to the action of this hormone (insulin).
There are 3 types of Diabetes:
1. TYPE I DIABETES (or childhood diabetes or insulin dependent)
2. TYPE II DIABETES (or non-insulin dependent)
3. PREGNANCY DIABETES (acquired during pregnancy)
How the Mediterranean Diet has a positive effect on DIABETES
Nutrition is the cornerstone in the treatment of the diabetic patient, with the main concern of
maintaining glucose levels at normal or near-normal levels, optimizing
blood lipid and lipoprotein concentrations, achieving a healthy body weight,
the prevention and treatment of diabetes complications and the overall improvement of health.
The traditional Mediterranean Diet is a standard diet and includes: plenty of vegetables
foods (fruits, vegetables, bread and other cereal products, potatoes, legumes, nuts),
dairy products (mainly cheese and yogurt) daily, in small to moderate quantities,
fish and poultry in small to medium quantities, red meat in small quantities up to one
once a month, low alcohol consumption (red wine) and daily consumption of olive oil.
With this composition, this type of diet, satisfies all the conditions of an adequate
diet for diabetics because it has the required low content of saturated fatty acids
and cholesterol, while carbohydrates come mainly from high-fiber complexes
carbohydrates. Daily consumption of olive oil implies a high content of the diet
in monounsaturated fatty acids, which ranges between 15% – 20% of calories.
Diets rich in carbohydrates (50-60% of total daily calories), reduced total fat
(<30%) and low in saturated fat (<10% of total calories),
are widely recommended as a dietary treatment for type 2 diabetic patients.
Studies that have been done in recent years, refer to the possible beneficial effects of a
diet like the Mediterranean, with the characteristics mentioned above, in its regulation
diabetes. Specifically, a study showed that, compared to a diet high in
monounsaturated fatty acids, a high-carbohydrate diet can cause more
increase in blood triglyceride concentrations and a corresponding decrease in cholesterol levels
high density (both diets were low in saturated fat).
On the other hand, diets rich in monounsaturated diets significantly reduced their
triglycerides in the blood during fasting, as well as very low cholesterol levels
density, increase in high density cholesterol values and no change in levels
low density cholesterol. At the same time, the diets rich in monounsaturated had as
result more favorable regulation of blood glycemia. Nevertheless, there are studies that
show that patients with diabetes who follow a high-carbohydrate diet may not
increase triglyceride or glucose levels if their diet is rich
Nutritional recommendations for Diabetes
• At least 5 meals, 3 basic and 2 snacks should be consumed per 3
hours, the so-called frequent and small meals and enough water.
• Also, the combination of proper diet and exercise gives the best and of course what is desired
• There should be a variety of foods, because nothing is forbidden, just everything is the measure and for
each person has corresponding quantities (this also applies to sweets)
rely on light products, sweeteners or foods for diabetics.
• Choose foods that are rich in fiber. In addition to frequent meals and
this will help in better regulation of sugar. Such foods are: vegetables,
fruits, whole grains and pasta, legumes.
• Limit foods that contain fat and sugar and especially standard products.
• Moderate alcohol consumption is allowed for people with diabetes. Prerequisite for
this is not to coexist with another condition that makes it prohibitive.
In case the patient is overweight, has hypertension or has elevated levels
triglycerides in the blood, it is recommended to avoid alcohol consumption.
Especially in insulin-dependent diabetics, alcohol should always be consumed with
Dietitian – Nutritionist (BSc)
He was born and raised in Thessaloniki. She studied her science
Of Nutrition and Dietetics at the ATEI of Crete where he stayed for four years making her
love the Mediterranean Diet even more.
After finishing her studies and obtaining the degree of Dietitian – Nutritionist, she returned
back to her homeland and continued with her practice, but also her practice in various places
gaining extensive experience in Childhood Obesity and pathological conditions.
Seminars and information days on topics related to the Mediterranean followed
Diet but also Diabetes.
Now, after ten years of experience, it maintains its own doctor’s office in the center of Thessaloniki. THE
but her love for Nutrition does not stop there. Keeping up with the data of the new era, the
Fotini has a fully updated Instagram account, named Fotini_dietitian, where
counts about 26,000 followers. In her profile you will find both useful tips and
recipes and videos with various topics related to Nutrition. In addition, this great
Echo and love from the world made her start writing her first book entitled “The
recipe of Fotini ”where it will contain classic recipes in their healthiest version.