There has been a lot of research on the effect of diet on risk of Type 2 diabetes in adults, a topic not unknown to us at The French Paradox (click here for some research we’ve covered). However, to
date, there has been very little examining possible ethnic differences in terms of adherence to the Mediterranean diet (or similar diets) and risk of Type 2 diabetes development.
As a result of this lack of information, a recent research study aimed to compare different ethnicities in terms of their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes after consuming various diets (including the Mediterranean diet).
Dietary adherence and Type 2 diabetes prevalence was measured for white, Japanese-American, and Native Hawaiian adults.
A total of 89,185 adults were recruited for this study, with 11,217 of them reported to have Type 2 diabetes.
Dietary patterns were assessed via several self-reported questionnaires.
- Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) practices were found to be inversely associated with Type 2 diabetes in white men and women, Japanese-American women, and Native Hawaiian men.
- Risk reductions for white men were 37%.
- Risk reductions for white women were 31%.
- Risk reductions for Japanese-American women were 19%.
- Risk reductions for Native Hawaiian men were 21%.
- Greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet and the Alternative Healthy Eating Index was associated with a 13-28% lower risk of Type 2 diabetes in white men and women, but not in any of the other two ethnicities studied.
- No associations were found between adherence to the Health Eating Index and Type 2 diabetes risk in any of the ethnicities studied.
The results of this study indicate that there are differences between ethnicities in terms of adherence to the Mediterranean diet and risk of Type 2 diabetes. Specifically, adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with lower Type 2 diabetes risk in white adults, though there was no such association found with Japanese-
American or Native Hawaiian adults.
It is possible these differences could be due to specific ethnically-based diets, which may result in Japanese-American or Native Hawaiians not being exposed to the Mediterranean diet as frequently as whites (i.e. greater meat intake, etc), thus potentially skewing the results.
Jacobs, S., Harmon, B.E., Boushey, C.J., Morimoto, Y., Wilkens, L.R., Le Marchand, L., Kröger, J., Schulze, M.B., Kolonel, L.N., and Maskarinec, G. 2015. A-priori defined diet quality indexes and risk of type 2 diabetes: The Multiethnic Cohort. Diabetologia 58: 98-112.