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Mediterranean diet and metabolic diseases

Giugliano, Dario; Esposito, Katherine

doi: 10.1097/MOL.0b013e3282f2fa4d
Nutrition and metabolism: Edited by Paul Nestel and Ronald Mensink

Purpose of review The objective of this article is to present evidence illustrating the relationship between Mediterranean diets and metabolic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome, and to briefly discuss potential mechanisms by which these diets can help in disease prevention and treatment.

Recent findings Although the Mediterranean diet has long been celebrated for its impact on cardiovascular health, mounting evidence indicates a favorable effect on obesity and type 2 diabetes, as well. While health promotion strategies aimed at preventing adult obesity are emphasizing components of Mediterranean dietary patterns, a role for Mediterranean diets in attenuating the inflammatory burden associated with type 2 diabetes is also emerging. Moreover, a lower prevalence of the metabolic syndrome is associated with dietary patterns rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, and unsaturated fats. Both epidemiological and interventional studies have revealed a protective effect of the Mediterranean diet against mild chronic inflammation and its metabolic complications.

Summary Mounting evidence suggests that Mediterranean diets could serve as an anti-inflammatory dietary pattern, which could help fighting diseases that are related to chronic inflammation, including visceral obesity, type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.

Department of Geriatrics and Metabolic Diseases, Division of Metabolic Diseases, University of Naples SUN, Naples, Italy

Correspondence to Dario Giugliano, MD, PhD, Department of Geriatrics and Metabolic Diseases, University of Naples SUN, Piazza L. Miraglia, 80138 Naples, Italy E-mail: dario.giugliano@unina2.it

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.