Mediterranean Diet May Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy

(HealthDay News) — The Mediterranean diet may protect against diabetic retinopathy, according to a study published in Diabetes Care.

Andrés Díaz-López, from Rovira i Virgili University in Reus, Spain, and colleagues conducted a post hoc analysis of a cohort of patients with type 2 diabetes participating in the PREvención con DIeta MEDiterránea (PREDIMED) study. 

Patients with type 2 diabetes (3,614 participants free of cardiovascular complications at enrollment; aged 55 to 80 years) were randomly assigned to one of three dietary interventions: MedDiet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil (MedDiet plus EVOO), MedDiet supplemented with mixed nuts (MedDiet plus Nuts) or a low-fat control diet.

During 6 years of follow up, 74 new cases of retinopathy and 168 cases of nephropathy were identified. The hazard ratios for diabetic retinopathy were 0.56 (95% CI, 0.32-0.97) with the MedDiet plus EVOO and 0.63 (95% CI, 0.35-1.11) with the MedDiet plus Nuts, compared with the control diet. 

For nephropathy, no between-group differences were seen. Assessing the yearly updated information on adherence to the MedDiet, the hazard ratio for retinopathy in the highest vs. the lowest quintile was 0.34 (95% CI, 0.13-0.89; P=.001 for trend), but no significant associations were found for nephropathy.

“A MedDiet enriched with EVOO may protect against diabetic retinopathy but not diabetic nephropathy,” the researchers wrote.

Several researchers disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the food and nutrition industry, which donated nuts and olive oil for the study.


  1. Díaz-López A et al. Diabetes Care. 2015;doi:10.2337/dc15-1117.