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Mediterranean diet beats low-fat diet in diabetes management

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A low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean style diet is better than a low-fat,  calorie-restricted diet for diabetics, according to a new study in the September 1st issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The study showed those who followed the Mediterranean diet not only lost more weight but also had better blood sugar control and were at a lower risk of heart disease than those who used a typical low fat diet.

A Mediterranean diet is high in fruits, legumes, vegetables, whole or unrefined grains, and olive oil, and moderate amounts of fish, meat and nuts. A typical low-fat diet has low fat of all sorts.

For the study, Dr. Dario Giugliano from the Second University of Naples, Italy and colleagues followed 215 type 2 diabetes patients for four years and found at the end of the study 44 percent of patients on the Mediterranean diet required medication to control their blood sugar. That was compared to 70 percent of those in the low-fat diet group who needed medication.

Researchers also found that after one year, the Mediterranean dieters lost an average of 4.4 more pounds of weight than those who were on the low-fat diet.

Those who used the Mediterranean diet also had a better heart health profile, meaning they had higher levels of good cholesterol and lower levels of harmful triglycerides.

Although both the Mediterranean diet and the low-fat diet are recommended for diabetes patients, the results of the study suggest that the Mediterranean diet may be more beneficial to the diabetes patients.

An estimated 40 million Americans live with diabetes, which can lead to serious complications.

 

By David Liu davidl at foodconsumer dot org and edited by sheilah downey - sheilahd at foodconsumer dot org