University of Canberra Associate Professor
Catherine Itsiopoulos has rediscovered a post-war peasant’s diet from Crete. Last week university
staff and members of the public got a taste of her research while she presented her findings.
I specifically spoke about an intervention study that was done on people with type-2
diabetes. Where we recruited people that were Australia born, people who hadn’t previously
been on any diet, we designed a diet that was a traditional Cretan Mediterranean diet
from Greece. Participants followed the diet for three months,
after which there were significant improvements in their health.
And what we found was after three months on the diet that their metabolic control of diabetes
improved and lots of other things improved, their mood and their appearance and their
energy levels. The diet lowered the glucose levels of participants
and raised antioxidant levels, two benefits especially good for those with type-2 diabetes.
The antioxidants came from the traditional foods that they ate, so fruits and vegetables
in particular, the olive oil, possibly even some from the red wine, and by increasing
the antioxidant level in their blood that was protecting them potentially from adverse
affects or negative affects of having diabetes. The Mediterranean diet greatly increases fruit
and vegetable consumption, to over half a kilogram each a day.
It’s a very palatable, very tasty diet, and it has a good amount of antioxidants which
is important for prevention of lots of chronic diseases, heart disease and cancers as well,
so even if you don’t have an illness this diet’s important, or this eating pattern
is important for prevention of disease in the long term.
Fish and olive oil featured heavily on the menu, with sweets only appearing occasionally.
Drinking wine is also encouraged, but only with meals and never get drunk.
The lecture will be repeated on the 22nd of June.
Sandy Rose, University of Canberra