A new study shows that the consumption of fish is linked with lower glucose concentrations and a reduced risk of developing diabetes.

The study by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology, FECYT, analyzed the dietary patterns of the adult Spanish population with high cardiovascular risk.

The results revealed a high consumption of both red meats and fish and found that while eating a lot of cured meat is connected with greater weight gain and a higher obesity rate, the consumption of fish is linked to lower glucose levels and smaller diabetes risk.

"In Mediterranean countries, consumption of foods that typically form part of the diet here has decreased in recent decades. The consumption of saturated fats mainly from red meats and industrial baking has increased and this is really worrying," said lead author Mercedes Sotos Prieto, researcher at the University of Valencia.

The study was conducted in the Valencian Community on 945 people, 340 men, and 605 women, between the ages of 55 and 80 who had high cardiovascular risk.

The main focus of the study was to “understand dietary patterns in terms of meat and fish consumption.” The study also sought to understand the correlation between the Mediterranean diet and its association with cardiovascular risk factors, the authors explained.

The study also found that the high intake of saturated fats from red and cured meat consumption was more frequent in men whereas, women proved to eat more white meat, such as chicken and turkey and as far as fish consumption, there were no significant differences found between men and women, however, in general women scored higher than men for “healthy dietary patterns” or “healthy diets.”

High in comparison to dietary recommendations, Prieto pointed out that "the red meat consumption of the sample population reaches an average of once a day.”

“This could be influenced by many weight-loss diets which recommend eating grilled veal," he said.

Many are aware of the risk factors high consumption of red meat brings forth such as, how excess consumption is linked to higher cardiovascular risk, higher blood pressure, diabetes and a moderate decrease in life expectancy mainly due to cancer or heart disease.

In contrast, fish appear in the Mediterranean diet and has health benefits for the heart.

The authors pointed out that there are many similar studies where the consumption of fish is associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes type 2.

"Various hypotheses have been put forward that attempt to explain why the consumption of fish can be related to diabetes," they explain. "The increase of omega-3 in the cells of the skeletal muscles improves insulin sensitivity."

"It is important to understand the dietary patterns of the Spanish population in order to learn whether dietary habits are changing. We should therefore strengthen dietary education," said Prieto.

"We ought to establish dietary intervention programs so that we do not stray from the Mediterranean diet. In other words, such a diet involves decreasing the amount of red meat that we eat and maintaining equal levels of fish consumption."