A Guide To Prediabetes Mediterranean Diet

    Prediabetes Mediterranean Diet Guide

    Martin Alvarez

    Martin Alvarez
    Nutritionist/Dietitian Professional Guide

    Updated on 11/26/2022

    According to research, the Mediterranean diet, which is excellent for heart health, is also beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes. Find out how the Prediabetes Mediterranean Diet strategy can help you lose weight and improve your blood sugar and the steps you need to do to get started with it.

    According to research, the Mediterranean diet, which is excellent for heart health, is also beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes. Find out how this strategy can help you lose weight and improve your blood sugar, as well as the steps you need to do to get started with it. The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that focuses on plant-based foods.

    The Mediterranean diet, which derives its name from the typical eating and cooking patterns of people in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, has been researched extensively for its beneficial effects on heart health for a very long time. However, evidence shows that using this method may also give particular benefits to persons who are currently coping with type 2 diabetes. Among them are an improvement in blood sugar, a decrease in weight, and gratifying and delicious nutrients.

    The Role Of The Mediterranean Diet In The Management Of Type 2 Diabetes

     Mediterranean Diet In The Management Of Type 2 Diabetes

    According to Nicole M. Bereolos, Ph.D., MPH, a certified diabetes care and education specialist (CDCES), the Mediterranean diet provides more foods your body needs, such as vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. Less of the nutrition it doesn't need, as red meat, refined carbohydrates, and sugary fare. The Mediterranean diet generally offers more of the foods your body needs and less of the nutrition it doesn't need.

    In previous research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers from the United Kingdom compared the Mediterranean diet to vegetarian, vegan, low-carbohydrate, high-protein, high-fiber, and low-glycemic-index diets. They discovered that the Mediterranean diet was superior to all other types of diets. The participants in the study who followed a Mediterranean diet, a diet with a low glycemic index, a diet low in carbohydrates, or a diet high in protein all reported improved management of their blood sugar, as seen by lower A1C values. People who followed the Mediterranean diet experienced considerable extra advantages; they dropped the most weight and improved their cardiovascular health, including lower cholesterol levels. (The A1C measures the average blood sugar levels over three months.)

    Betul Hatipoglu, MD, an endocrinologist with University Hospitals in Cleveland, says that "the Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits and vegetables, and it uses whole grains and lean protein, such as fish, as well as olive oil and nuts as the sources of fat." "The Mediterranean diet is known for its low levels of saturated fat and high levels of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat," she says. These healthy choices make the diet highly rich in monounsaturated fat and fiber, which decreases cholesterol and blood sugar in persons with diabetes. "These healthy choices make the diet rich in monounsaturated fat and fiber."

    Menu For People With Diabetes: Salmon Cakes

    Salmon Cakes

    Because of this, she was eating in the Mediterranean way is recognized as beneficial to one's cardiovascular health. According to Sharon Movsas, a registered dietitian working at Montefiore Health System in the Bronx, New York, "with diabetes, it's all about minimizing your risk for having complications from the condition," which may be found in the following sentence. She states that cardiovascular disease, which can include heart attacks and strokes, is one of the most common issues. On top of that, diabetes is frequently accompanied by high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, all of which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. As if that weren't enough, diabetes also often results in weight gain.

    Consuming foods typical of the Mediterranean region can help protect the heart by reducing and maintaining healthy levels of blood pressure and cholesterol. An olive oil-rich Mediterranean diet improves arterial blood flow in people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes more effectively than a conventional low-fat diet did throughout a study conducted in February 2017 and published in Atherosclerosis. The study was conducted on individuals with either type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. An improvement in arterial function can help reduce the progression of Atherosclerosis, often known as the accumulation of plaque in the walls of arteries. According to the findings of other studies, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities of diet can lower the risk of having a cardiovascular event (such as a heart attack) by as much as thirty percent.


    In addition, the Mediterranean diet allows for red wine, fat-free or low-fat dairy products (such as yogurt), eggs, and lean meat to be consumed in moderation, according to nutritionist Kelly Kennedy, RD of Everyday Health. Moreover, herbs and spices flavor food instead of salt in the Mediterranean diet. In other words, it replaces saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats, which may explain why it benefits insulin sensitivity. According to Kennedy, research suggests that the high concentration of polyphenols (antioxidant plant compounds) found in Mediterranean foods may also contribute to decreasing insulin resistance. It is according to a review published in August 2017 in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. Kennedy says.

    How Eating Like the Mediterranean Can Help Reduce Your Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

    Can Help Reduce Your Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

    For example, managing metabolic syndrome may reduce their odds of developing diabetes by 23 percent, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis published in August 2015 in BMJ Open. The researchers also reported that Mediterranean eating was superior to low-fat diets for controlling blood sugar levels.

    "This is a way of eating, approaching food, and making a lifestyle change," says Bereolos. "It's not something people do for six months and is done." According to a review of randomized clinical trials, the Mediterranean diet appears to be just as effective as other diets, such as low-fat, low-carb, and the American Diabetes Association diet, for long-term (greater than one year) weight loss.

    In addition to being linked to a lower risk of diabetes, following the eating plan is connected to a lower risk of overall mortality, certain cancers, and diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, according to a review published in January 2018 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Committing to change is worthwhile.

    Mediterranean Diet Acceptable And Avoidable Foods

    Mediterranean Diet Acceptable And Avoidable Foods

    You don't have to move to southern Europe to adopt the region's eating style, and switching to a Mediterranean diet isn't as radical or complicated as it might sound. Although we wouldn't discourage you from visiting, you don't have to move there to adopt the region's eating style. Like many healthy diets, it begins with selecting fresh fruits and vegetables and using lean protein sources such as fish, skinless chicken, and legumes rather than red meat.

    As recommended by Kennedy, who states that "the key with the Mediterranean diet is that it stresses minimally processed foods," fill your kitchen with a few essentials that will assist you in making the change. "The following is a list of items that can help you in stocking up:

    Foods That Should Include In A Mediterranean Diet

    Whole Grains

    • Rice with a brown crust
    • Barley
    • Quinoa
    • Bulgur
    • Farro
    • Buckwheat
    • Wheat grains or berries
    • Products made from bread, buns, tortillas, and pasta made from whole grains

    Seeds, Nuts, Beans, And Other Legumes And Nuts

    Seeds, Nuts, Beans, And Other Legumes And Nuts

    • Almonds
    • Walnuts
    • Pistachios
    • Cashews
    • Sunflower seeds
    • Sesame seeds
    • Beans (kidney beans, white beans, cannellini beans)
    • Chickpeas
    • Lentils
    • Peas
    • Peanuts
    • Vegetables
    • Avocados
    • Bell peppers
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Asparagus
    • Tomatoes
    • Leafy greens (spinach, lettuce, kale, collards)

    Leafy greens (spinach, lettuce, kale, collards)

    • Broccoli
    • Cabbage
    • Cucumbers
    • Eggplants
    • Leeks
    • Artichoke
    • Beets
    • Carrots
    • Celery
    • Fennel
    • Radish
    • Onions
    • Zucchini



    • Melons
    • Figs
    • Dates
    • Grapes
    • Pomegranates
    • Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruit)
    • Berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)
    • Apples
    • Healthy oils and fats
    • Olives
    • Olive oil
    • Drinks
    • Water
    • Coffee
    • Tea
    • Wine (in moderation)


    • Fresh fish and other types of seafood
    • Salmon
    • Sardines
    • Halibut
    • Shrimp
    • Mussels
    • Albacore tuna
    • Trout
    • Mackerel
    • Herring
    • Dairy products, eggs, and poultry that are healthy
    • Cheese with a lower fat content
    • yogurt with a low or non-fat fat content
    • Milk with a low or non-fat fat content
    • Eggs
    • Chicken, turkey, and other birds of the feather (chicken, turkey, etc.)

    Herbs And Spices


    • Basil
    • Garlic
    • Cumin
    • Cloves
    • Cinnamon
    • Chili powder
    • Saffron
    • Mint
    • Ginger
    • Oregano
    • Nutmeg
    • Rosemary
    • Restrictions Placed on Certain Food Groups by the Mediterranean Diet
    • Beef
    • Lamb
    • Pork
    • Burgers
    • Butter
    • Sweets (cakes, cookies, candy)

    On The Mediterranean Diet, You Should Stay Away From These Foods

    1. Various types of processed meats (hot dogs, sausage, deli meat, chicken nuggets)
    2. Foods that have been too processed (chips, muffins, sugary cereals)
    3. Quick meals
    4. Drinks like soda and other beverages with added sugar

    A Week's Worth Of Diabetes-Friendly Meal Ideas For The Mediterranean Diet

     Meal Ideas For The Mediterranean Diet

    Thanks to Bereolos and Movsas, the following are some fundamental meal concepts suitable for a diabetic and a Mediterranean diet.

    DAY 1

    • Greek yogurt sprinkled with chopped almonds and strawberries makes a healthy breakfast.
    • Lunch A green salad with chickpeas, quinoa, and a hard-boiled egg, topped with vinaigrette and drizzled with the dressing.
    • Eat some walnuts and a sliced pear for a snack.
    • Dinner Pasta made from whole grains, topped with ground turkey, broccoli, and mushroom sauce
    • Dessert Small fig bar

    DAY 2

    • Breakfast Veggie omelet with cheese

    Breakfast Veggie omelet with cheese

    • Lentil soup with a side salad topped with olive oil and lemon for lunch
    • Snack A slice of bread made with nutritious grains that have ricotta and sliced figs on top of it
    • Dinner Oven-roasted chicken served with roasted zucchini and farro.
    • Peach dessert is grilled on the grill.

    DAY 3

    • Muesli for breakfast topped with berries
    • Lunch of vegetarian chili served with crackers made with whole grains.
    • Hummus and sliced veggies make a great snack.
    • Orzo and salmon for dinner, with Brussels sprouts on the side.
    • Dessert Sorbet made of fruit, with chopped almonds sprinkled on top

    DAY 4

    • Slice of vegetable frittata accompanied by fruit for breakfast.

    Slice of vegetable frittata  fruit for breakfast.

    • Pita made with whole grains topped with hummus, veggies diced up, and olives for lunch.
    • A portion of low-fat yogurt in a container for a snack
    • The evening meal of shrimp accompanied by artichokes and olives

    DAY 5

    • Breakfast A slice of bread made with nutritious grains, topped with cheese, and accompanied by fresh fruit
    • Lunch Green salad topped with roasted squash, fish, and pumpkin seeds.
    • A snack with a variety of nuts
    • Cannellini beans and kale sautéed together for dinner (aka beans and greens)
    • Dessert Fresh Berries topped with a spoonful of Greek Yogurt.

    DAY 6

    • Breakfast Shakshuka (eggs cooked in spicy tomato sauce)
    • Bowl of chickpeas, quinoa, and vegetables for lunch
    • Snack Sunflower seeds

    sunflower seed

    DAY 7

    • Breakfast Yogurt topped with fruit and granola that is minimal in fat and sugar.
    • Avocado and whole grain bread with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds and a touch of lemon juice on top for lunch.
    • Chickpeas, roasted for a snack.
    • An evening meal of halibut accompanied by sautéed spinach and ratatouille.
    • Ricotta with figs packed in fig leaves as a dessert

    How To Locate Mediterranean Diet Recipes That Are Suitable For People With Diabetes

    It is not difficult to come across meals that adhere to the guidelines of the Mediterranean diet. The following are some great sites that might serve as meal inspiration.

    Association Of Diabetes Mellitus Of America (ADA)

    Visit the Diabetes Food Hub maintained by the ADA. This website is one of Movsas's favorites since it allows users to schedule their meals in advance, a formula for success. You may search based on your preferences (for example, a supper that is inexpensive or vegetarian) and obtain a list of recipes that meet those criteria. A shopping list can also be produced using this information for your convenience.



    Reading through a cookbook is an excellent way to pick up new abilities, get a feel for a particular culinary style, and stimulate your hunger. Try The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Beginners by Elena Parvantes, RDN, The Mediterranean DASH Diet Cookbook by Abbie Gellman, RD, CDN, or The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook by Amy Riolo. All three of these cookbooks are written by registered dietitian nutritionists.


    Blogs such as The Mediterranean Dish allow readers to experiment with new cooking techniques, obtain detailed instructions, and sign up for meal planning.

    Five Pieces of Advice From Nutritionists To Help You Stick To A Mediterranean Diet While Managing Your Diabetes

    You'll still need to monitor your carbohydrate intake closely, even though the Mediterranean diet is intrinsically healthful for persons managing type 2 diabetes. The following are a few valuable ideas to bear in mind in general as you make the transition:

    1- Keep An Eye On The Legumes.

    1. Keep An Eye On The Legumes.

    According to Bereolos, "Beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils all contain fantastic nutrients and fiber, but at their core, they are still a carbohydrate, and that will affect your blood sugar." This does not imply that you should go out of your way to avoid them, but you should be conscious of the number of carbohydrates they add to your diet, mainly if you are already on insulin.

    2- Discuss Your Concerns About Alcohol With Your Doctor.

    In moderation, alcohol, especially red wine, is permitted on the Mediterranean diet. Red wine is particularly encouraged. But that does not indicate that it benefits you or your health. According to Bereolos, you should inquire with your doctor about the future effects of alcohol on the drugs you are now taking.

    3. Make A Few Adjustments To What's On Your Plate.


    You may need the assistance of a qualified dietitian or a CDCES to devise a plan for adapting a Mediterranean diet to your preferences regarding food and your way of life. Bereolos adds, "I urge individuals to be as honest as they can be with their healthcare team; that's the only way you'll be able to acquire the information you need." "I encourage people to be as honest as they can be with their healthcare team." For instance, if you've been having breakfast at a fast food restaurant five days a week, you should tell your provider about it. She states, "We will work with where you are at and assist you in achieving a change that works for you." "We will work with where you are at."

    4- Keep In Mind That The Size Of Your Portion Still Makes A Difference.

    According to Movsas, diabetic patients who successfully manage their weight have better control over their blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Because of this, even if you are consuming nutritious meals, the size of your servings is essential. It's possible to consume too many calories even by eating healthy foods like olive oil, whole grains, and legumes. Instead of destroying an unlimited quantity, try drizzling veggies with one tablespoon of olive oil (120 calories, 0 grams [g] carbohydrates) or sticking to a half cup of brown rice (119 calories, 25 g carbs).

    5- Get Familiar With The Meaning Of The Word "Occasional."

    When following a Mediterranean diet, eating red meat (and even some of your favorite processed foods) is still possible; however, consuming these items should be limited to "sometimes." According to the Mediterranean diet, "occasionally" does not mean three or four times a week. According to Bereolos, it occurs anywhere from once to twice every month. It is acceptable for you to consume more food when you first start the diet. She does not want you to have any feelings of guilt or regret; instead, she wants you to move on with your life and work toward the objective of adopting a more Mediterranean way of eating.

    Diabetes And The Mediterranean Diet: A Concise Overview

    Diabetes And The Mediterranean Diet: A Concise Overview

    If you start incorporating a Mediterranean diet into your lifestyle by exchanging high-fat meats for beans, lentils, and fish; adding more fruits and vegetables to your plate, and making the majority of your grains whole, you will notice significant improvements in the quality of your life as well as your ability to control diabetes.