Daily Archives: August 17, 2013

  • New research shows that a Mediterranean-style diet with EVOO can offer protection against type 2 diabetes.

    New research shows that a Mediterranean-style diet and diets low in available carbohydrates can offer protection against type 2 diabetes. The study is published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), and is by Dr Carlo La Vecchia, Mario Negri Institute of Pharmacological Research, Milan, Italy, and colleagues.

    The authors studied patients from Greece who are part of the ongoing European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition (EPIC), led by Dr. Antonia Trichopoulou, from the University of Athens. From a total of 22,295 participants, actively followed up for just over 11 years, 2,330 cases of type 2 diabetes were recorded. To assess dietary habits, all participants completed a questionnaire, and the researchers constructed a 10-point Mediterranean diet score (MDS) and a similar scale to measure the available carbohydrate (or glycaemic load [GL]) of the diet.

    People with an MDS of over 6 were 12% less likely to develop diabetes than those with the lowest MDS of 3 or under. Patients with the highest available carbohydrate in their diet were 21% more likely to develop diabetes than those with the lowest. A high MDS combined with low available carbohydrate reduced the chances of developing diabetes by 20% as compared with a diet low in MDS and high in GL.

    The authors say: “The role of the Mediterranean diet in weight control is still controversial, and in most studies from Mediterranean countries the adherence to the Mediterranean diet was unrelated to overweight. This suggests that the protection of the Mediterranean diet against diabetes is not through weight control, but through several dietary characteristics of the Mediterranean diet. However, this issue is difficult to address in cohort studies because of the lack of information on weight changes during follow-up that are rarely recorded.”

    They point out that a particular feature of the Mediterranean diet is the use of extra virgin olive oil which leads to a high ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fatty acids. But again research here has been conflicting. One review of dietary fat and diabetes suggests that replacing saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats has beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity and is likely to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, in a randomised trial of high-cardiovascular-risk individuals who were assigned to the Mediterranean diet supplemented with either free extra virgin olive oil or nuts and were compared with individuals on a low-fat diet (comparison group), there was no difference in diabetes occurrence between the two variants of the Mediterranean diet when compared with the comparison group.

    Regarding GL, the authors say: “High GL diet leads to rapid rises in blood glucose and insulin levels. The chronically increased insulin demand may eventually result in pancreatic β cell failure and, as a consequence, impaired glucose tolerance and increased insulin resistance, which is a predictor of diabetes. A high dietary GL has also been unfavourably related to glycaemic control in individuals with diabetes.”

    They conclude: “A low GL diet that also adequately adheres to the principles of the traditional Mediterranean diet may reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes.”

    Source eurekalert

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    New research shows that a Mediterranean-style diet and diets low in available carbohydrates can offer protection against type 2 diabetes. The study is published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), and is by Dr Carlo La Vecchia,... 
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  • India’s Olive Oil Plan May Not Win Over Local Consumers

    The Indian and Mediterranean diets may not seem easy bedfellows, but there has been a certain convergence in recent years. Wine production has already taken off in India; 65 vineyards currently export to 22 countries around the world. European cheeses such as mascarpone, mozzarella and ricotta are being produced outside New Delhi. And now the home of pungent curries is trying its hand at that other great Continental staple — olive oil. Next month, the South Asian nation better known for cooking in clarified butter, or ghee, will start commercial olive oil production across 180 hectares in the arid western province of Rajasthan. It’s a commercial venture, but those in charge say Indians should also take the health benefits of olive oil to heart.

    Twenty-five farmers, all previously unfamiliar with olive cultivation, have so far planted more than 80,000 trees. The government has subsidized 75% of the cost of each olive sapling, provided free consultancy and a 90% subsidy on drip-irrigation equipment to bring farmers in the area on board. The first harvest, from one of seven initial groves, is expected in October and should reach a modest 30 metric tons. A second grove is also showing signs of fruiting this year. But this is just the beginning. When others see “a real commercial yield, then I’m sure there will be a boom of farmers,” says Gideon Peleg, technical manager and consultant for Rajasthan Oil Cultivation Limited (ROCL), one of the companies involved. With potential yields of $6,000 to $7,000 per hectare, the attraction for farmers is clear, even if olives take some getting used to. Olive cultivation in India “must be adapted — it is not something that automatically can be copied, it is not something that’s written somewhere.” Peleg tells TIME.

    As well as being an innovative program for the region’s farmers — perennially hampered by droughts and substandard irrigation — the project has the grander design of countering India’s diseases of affluence. By 2015, current trends suggest that a third of Indians will be overweight. The World Heath Organization estimates over the next seven years the economic impact of premature deaths due to heart disease, diabetes and metabolic disorders nationally will be a staggering $237 billion. But these deaths, it says, could be reduced by 80% through the adoption of a better diet. Almost 10% of the Indian population suffers from heart disease, the highest rate in the world. “The situation is already a national emergency,” says V.N Dalmia, president of the Indian Olive Association.

    Getting Indians to switch to olive oil will be no easy feat. It currently makes up a nanoscopic 12,000 tons of India’s 17 million ton cooking-oil market — but demand is growing. Imports rose 66% over the last year, according to Dalmia, whose company is also the nation’s largest importer of olive oil. The prototypical Indian olive oil consumer earns $10,000 or more a year in a country where per capita income is just $1,530. But even for these relatively well-off buyers, price matters. And since a drought hit Spain last year, olive oil costs have soared. “If you are competing as a cooking oil, the only way you are ever going to compete is on price,” says olive oil consultant and advocate Alexandra Kicenik Devarenne.

    And then there is that other great barometer of demand: taste. Indians are renowned for their fiery gastronomic tradition and palates accustomed to ghee. “You can’t take an Indian dish, which is made with a normal oil, [and instead use] olive oil and expect it to taste the same,” renowned Indian food critic Vir Sanghvi tells TIME. Cooking with expensive oil while having to devise elaborate ways to hide its taste may be an obstacle too far, he adds. “Indians don’t seem to have created a palate that appreciates the finer qualities of olive oil.”

    Market factors aside, observers say commercial success of the ROCL project hinges on more than just pressing oil. “My experience in the olive oil industry leads me to believe that making olive oil is not easy, but it’s not that hard compared to selling it at a profit,” says Devarenne. “That really is where the hard work comes in.”

    Dalmia too, while “enthused” about the initiative, is skeptical about the state government’s non-existent packaging, marketing, distribution and sales plan. It looks like some oil needs to be poured on troubled waters, even before the first harvest is in.

    Article source: world.time

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    The Indian and Mediterranean diets may not seem easy bedfellows, but there has been a certain convergence in recent years. Wine production has already taken off in India; 65 vineyards currently export to 22 countries around the world. European cheeses such as mascarpone, mozzarella... 
    Read More →