Mediterranean Diet for Prediabetes

Mediterranean Diet for Prediabetes

The benefits of a Mediterranean Diet for Prediabetes, Diabetes, Weight Loss, Hypertension, and Cardiovascular diseases can not be undermined.

The Mediterranean diet is a traditional style of eating and cooking habits that were followed by the people living in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

This diet has been a consistent one that has been studied for its benefits in various medical conditions along with exercise and medications.

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How Mediterranean Diet can be helpful for prediabetes?

Overall, the Mediterranean diet is a nutrient-dense diet that provides a complete array of macro and micronutrients that the body needs.

The diet specifically focuses on vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats and limits red meat, and simple and refined carbs.

These healthy choices increase the diet’s monounsaturated fat and fiber content, both of which have been shown to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels in diabetics.

Following this diet may reduce the occurrence of prediabetes and if you already have prediabetes, this diet may lower your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes is a warning sign and opting for better health choices may completely eliminate your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

A Mediterranean diet combined with regular physical activity can help in reversing prediabetes and treating insulin resistance.

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The Mediterranean diet is a low-glycemic, low-fat diet which makes it ideal for prediabetics. It helps a person lose weight and improves insulin sensitivity.

Research suggests that compared to vegetarian, low-carb, low-GI, high-fiber, and vegan diets, the Mediterranean diet was on top in regulating blood sugar levels and lower hbA1c scores. [Ref]

A study by “The American Diabetes Association” suggests that adherence to the Mediterranean diet reduces hbA1c levels, fasting blood glucose levels, and triglyceride levels in the blood. [Ref]

Another study that looked into the association of the Mediterranean diet with the onset of type 2 diabetes in obese women suggests that from the total 2500 women that were included in the study, only 2307 developed diabetes over the period of 20 years.

The study also suggests that the Mediterranean diet is associated with a 30% decrease in the risk of diabetes, development of insulin resistance, adiposity, and inflammation. [Ref]

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Key Recommendations of the Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is a complete lifestyle and it is not a “Fad” diet. The ideal Mediterranean diet is based on the following recommendations:

  • The ideal Mediterranean diet focuses on:
    • healthy unsaturated fats,
    • limits animal protein,
    • avoids smoking,
    • moderates alcohol consumption, and
    • increases regular physical activity.
  • Olive oil should be used as the primary added fat, replacing other oils and fats like butter and margarine which are a source of trans and saturated fats
  • Low-fat or fat-free dairy is included instead of whole-fat dairy products
  • Oily fish, nuts, avocados, and seeds are also a prime focus
  • Red meat is restricted to only 2-3 times per month
  • Poultry, fish, and eggs are recommended at least twice a week or in smaller portions daily.
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How to keep up with the Mediterranean Diet for Prediabetes?

Even though the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest dietary patterns, for people with prediabetes, it still requires some extra management and care.

You cannot simply just go for whatever foods are recommended in the diet and load up yourself with them.

Some healthy diet principles that work hand in hand with a healthy diet pattern should be implemented to make the much-needed transition.

Be careful of the carbs

Although whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and lentils are rich in nutrients and fiber, they still are carbohydrates and they will still end up giving you “Glucose”.

And in prediabetes with that developing insulin resistance, you need to be careful in monitoring your carbs. Don’t load up on the carbs in a single meal.

Include small portions in all meals and combine them with protein-rich foods.

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Never forget “Portion Control”

Following a healthy diet will be in vain if the portions go out of control. Especially when you have prediabetes, you need to be more careful of your portion sizes because weight loss plays an equal role.

Even healthy foods can be dangerous when overdosed.  For example, olive oil is healthy but that does not mean you can sprinkle it as much as you like. Go for 1 tablespoon of olive oil when used in salads and dressings.

Take slow and steady steps

This goes for restricted foods. For example, red meat restriction does not mean never eating red meat or eating 2-3 times per week, it means only 2 times per month.

But if you consume it regularly, a slow restriction is better than just jumping to the recommendations. This makes it easy to follow and ensures consistency.

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Low-GI fruits:

Although, the Mediterranean diet is overall healthy, for prediabetics and diabetics a little extra focus on the GI still remains.

So, whenever you eat fruits, try to choose the ones with a low glycemic index. And try to have smaller servings at a time to avoid spikes in blood sugar levels.


The Mediterranean diet suggests drinking alcohol in moderation. But they might be a little too risky if you have prediabetes.

So, try to limit alcohol consumption in order to avoid any unusual spikes in blood sugar levels.

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Regular Exercise

As mentioned earlier, the Mediterranean diet is not just a diet but a whole lifestyle that involved both diet and physical activity.

So, to gain the maximum benefits combine your diet with regular exercise of moderate intensity for at least 45-90 minutes.


The Mediterranean diet is well-known for its health benefits. It can help manage or prevent prediabetes when followed carefully and with consistency.

This diet balances the blood sugar levels and controls the developing insulin resistance in people with prediabetes and diabetes.

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What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

I love my family, my profession, my blog, nature, hiking, and simple life. Read more about me, my family, and my qualifications

Here is a link to My Facebook Page. You can also contact me by email at or at My Twitter Account
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