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Diet change could prevent diabetes

Patients at risk of diabetes could help ward off the condition simply by changing to a Mediterranean-type diet, experts have found.

A study published online in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that the Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, fruit, vegetables and fish provides "substantial protection" against diabetes.

Eating such meals helps keep people healthy and wards off type 2 diabetes, which is linked to lifestyle factors like diet and obesity.

People who stuck strictly to a Mediterranean diet had an 83% lower chance of developing diabetes than those who did not, according to the study.

Even those who kept to the diet at a moderate level had a 59% reduced risk of getting the disease.

About 1.8 million people in the UK have type 2 diabetes and another 750,000 are thought to be undiagnosed.

The Mediterranean diet is traditionally low in meat and dairy products. Previous studies have shown that it can help ward off heart disease, asthma in children and help people live a longer life.

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