The aim of the present review is to examine current scientific knowledge on the association between the Mediterranean diet and diabetes mellitus mostly type 2 diabetes. A definition of the Mediterranean diet and the tools widely used to evaluate adherence to this traditional diet Mediterranean diet indices are briefly presented. The review focuses on epidemiological data linking adherence to the Mediterranean diet with the risk of diabetes development, as well as evidence from interventional studies assessing the effect of the Mediterranean diet on diabetes control and the management of diabetes-related complications. The above mentioned data are explored on the basis of evaluating the Mediterranean diet as a whole dietary pattern, rather than focusing on the effect of its individual components. Possible protective mechanisms of the Mediterranean diet against diabetes are also briefly discussed. Diabetes mellitus DM is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by hyperglycemia, resulting from defects in insulin secretion, insulin action, or both. Long considered a disease of minor significance, in the 21st century, DM represents one of the main threats to human health. In , an estimated million individuals worldwide are suffering from DM, with type 2 diabetes mellitus T2DM accounting for most cases [ 1 ]. Although it is well established that both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the development and progression of T2DM, the recent dramatic increase in its prevalence seems to result mainly from the major lifestyle changes observed in modern societies [ 2 ]. Fortunately, lifestyle factors, including dietary and physical activity habits, are largely modifiable and are currently targeted as a mean to prevent and treat the disease. With regard to dietary habits, current trends in nutritional epidemiology propose that pattern analysis is the most realistic approach to examine associations between overall diet and health or disease, instead of focusing on single dietary components [ 3 ].
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