WHAT IS DIABETES?
Diabetes mellitus is one of the leading health problems in the developed countries, and the sixth cause of death. It is one of the major metabolic diseases and it is potentially very serious because it can cause many complications that seriously damage health, such as cardiovascular diseases, kidney failure, blindness, peripheral circulation disorders, etc.
There are two types of diabetes mellitus: type-I or insulin-dependent diabetes, found in children and teenagers, and type-II or non-insulin-dependent diabetes, which appears in adulthood, generally from the age of 40 onwards. Insulin is required to control the first type while the second, more frequent type is generally associated with obesity and does not call for insulin treatment. Nowadays a person is considered to be a diabetic when, two hours after an oral overdose of glucose, he or she has a fasting blood sugar level of more than 126 mg/dl, or of more than 200 mg/dl in non-fasting conditions.
Glucose intolerance is a situation where a person has high blood sugar levels (between 110 and 125 mg/dl) without any clear signs of disease, but with a major risk of suffering from diabetes in the future.
OLIVE OIL AND DIABETES
An olive-oil-rich diet is not only a good alternative in the treatment of diabetes; it may also help to prevent or delay the onset of the disease. How it does so is by preventing insulin resistance and its possible pernicious implications by raising HDL-cholesterol, lowering triglycerides, and ensuring better blood sugar level control and lower blood pressure. It has been demonstrated that a diet that is rich in olive oil, low in saturated fats, moderately rich in carbohydrates and soluble fibre from fruit, vegetables, pulses and grains is the most effective approach for diabetics. Besides lowering the “bad” low-density lipoproteins, this type of diet improves blood sugar control and enhances insulin sensitivity.
These benefits have been documented in child and adult diabetes.