The "non-diet" diet that can help diabetics

Diabetics get so much bad advice -- and so much conflicting advice -- that it's a wonder they can even find their way home from the doctor's office.

And it starts with the most critical advice of all: diet.

They're told to limit carbs. Or limit fat. Or limit fat and carbs. Or forget the fat and carbs and focus on the glycemic index instead. Or... or... or...

And if you think your head is spinning just reading about these diets, try following one of them. They're hard to swallow in the short term, and downright impossible for most people to follow over the long haul.

But there's one diet out there that doesn't get as much attention in the diabetes debate -- a common-sense lifestyle that's easy to follow and proven to work for diabetics and non-diabetics alike.

It's the Mediterranean diet -- and in a new look at data from 20 studies comparing seven diets for type-2 diabetes, it came out on top by just about every possible measure.

Let's start with weight loss.

You can lose weight on any diet, even a bad one. But keeping it off? That's another story -- and over at least six months, the Mediterranean diet was the only one where diabetics were able to keep it off.

But you know as well as I do that there's more to health than just weight loss, especially when it comes to diabetes.

And while all of the diets helped to control blood sugar, only three led to improvements in cholesterol: low-carb, low-glycemic and... you guessed it... the Mediterranean diet.

These three boosted levels of HDL cholesterol -- that's the good stuff -- by up to 10 percent, and slashed triglycerides by up to 9 percent.

But there's one thing you can't measure in a study that really sets this diet apart, and that's variety.

Most people run out of options fast on those other diets. They get bored, and that boredom leads to failure. The Mediterranean diet, on the other hand, has a rich variety of options -- including many of the foods you already love such as lean meats, fresh fish, healthy whole grains, nuts, olive oil, and a whole lot more.

It's got so many choices your head really will spin -- in a good way for a change.

I've got more on diabetes coming up next -- specifically, what NOT to eat. Keep reading!