Blog | Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mediterranean diet trumps low-fat diet for diabetes management

Researchers compared the effects of a Mediterranean-style diet versus a typical low-fat diet for diabetes management in one of the longest-term randomized trials of its kind to assess their effectiveness, durability and safety on the need for diabetes medications in overweight patients with newly-diagnosed type 2 diabetes.

Researchers randomly assigned 215 patients to follow either a low carbohydrate, Mediterranean-style diet or a low-fat diet for four years. Nutritionists and dietitians counseled both groups in monthly sessions for the first year and bimonthly sessions for the next three years. Patients on the low-carbohydrate Mediterranean diet avoided medication, lost more weight, and decreased some coronary risk factors. Results were reported in Annals of Internal Medicine.

After four years, 44% of patients in the Mediterranean-style diet group required antihyperglycemic drug therapy compared to 70% in the low-fat diet group. Patients in the Mediterranean diet group also experienced greater weight loss and an improvement in some coronary risk factors.

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