Obesity and type 2 diabetes are, at present, two of the major problems that can affect the health of people around the world. In fact, both obesity and type 2 diabetes, which is typical adult diabetes, can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, cellular degeneration and neurodegeneration. Science is at work trying to understand which food and lifestyle choices can help prevent or combat obesity and diabetes, which are often present at the same time. In fact, experts speak of diabesity, a term resulting from the union of the words diabetes and obesity. There is no miracle food that alone solves problems, of course, but some foods, more than others, have been shown to be beneficial, if taken regularly and without excess. So let's explore the diet that helps fight obesity and diabetes.
Green tea against diabetes and obesity
Green tea is a drink obtained by infusion from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Studies have shown that regularly drinking green tea helps reduce blood pressure, bad LDL cholesterol, oxidative stress and inflammation indicators. Not only that, drinking 6 cups a day of green tea led to a 33% decrease in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who drink less than one cup a day (Kim et al, Diabetes Metab J, 2013). In addition to this, people used to consuming green tea show less body fat and a reduction in waist circumference (Kim et al, Diabetes Metab J, 2013). It is believed that these properties are attributable to the epigallo catechin gallate, or EGCG, the main antioxidant in green tea. EGCG, in fact, inhibits the formation of adipose tissue and increases the body's energy expenditure (Kim et al, Diabetes Metab J, 2013).
Berries against obesity and diabetes
Including berries in your diet, especially strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and cranberries, has been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes thanks to the content of nutrients, such as vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, manganese, anthocyanins and tannins. In fact, it has been observed that berries help reduce post-prandial blood sugar and insulin resistance in obese people and people with metabolic syndrome. Berries, consumed regularly, help to keep blood sugar, cholesterol and arteriosclerosis under control (Calvano et al, Food Funct, 2019). Not only that, berries also counteract obesity, since their anthocyanin content reduces the accumulation of fat, and are useful for reducing chronic inflammation, which, in the long run, can increase the risk of obesity, but also depression, cardiovascular disease and cellular degeneration (Calvano et al, Food Funct, 2019). Finally, it is noteworthy that berries also act by protecting the brain, improving memory and cognitive function (Tsuda et al, Antioxidants, 2016).
Fats and carbohydrates in an anti-obesity and anti-diabetes diet
Studies have shown that, in the prevention of diabetes and obesity, an important role is played by the quality of carbohydrates and fats, rather than the quantity with which they are consumed (Ley et al , Lancet, 2014). In fact, a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and low in refined carbohydrates, red and processed meats and sugary drinks has been shown to reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Not only that, a diet of this type has made it possible to improve blood sugar levels and keep body weight under control, thanks to the presence of fibers that increase the sense of satiety and reduce the absorption of fats and sugars (Ley et al, Lancet, 2014). It is important to underline that completely removing fat from the diet has not been shown to be more protective against diabetes. In fact, as we have mentioned, for the purposes of prevention, the type of fats is more important than their quantity and, in general, preferring fats of vegetable origin, such as those contained in nuts, compared to fats of animal origin has shown to be a useful and protective choice against diabetes (Ley et al, Lancet, 2014).
Fruit and vegetables against obesity and diabetes
Regularly consuming green leafy vegetables has been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes (Ley et al, Lancet, 2014). With regard to fruit, berries, grapes and apples were particularly protective (Ley et al, Lancet, 2014). Very interesting are also pomegranates and exotic fruits, such as lychees, jackfruit, mangosteen, acai, goji and avocado, which have been shown to act in case of metabolic syndrome, reducing the risk of diabetes and obesity thanks to the powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action (Devalaraja et al, Food Res Int, 2011). Then, another consideration, the protective properties against diabetes and obesity were observed with whole fruit and not with juice, which contains a lower amount of fiber (Bondonno et al, J Clin Endocrinol Metab., 2021).