Mediterranean Diet Helps Control Diabetes Better than Low-Fat Diet

The Mediterranean diet provides the nutrients needed to help prevent type 2 diabetes.

The Mediterranean diet provides the nutrients needed to help prevent type 2 diabetes.

The Mediterranean diet, which consists of eating lots of vegetables, fruits, olive oil, legumes and nuts, has long been known to be beneficial for heart health. Now, according to new findings published this month in the Annals of Internal Medicine, this diet is also being shown to help prevent type 2 diabetes.

According to the research, “Participants assigned to the Mediterranean-style diet lost more weight and experienced greater improvements in some glycemic control and coronary risk measures than did those assigned to the low-fat diet.”

For the study, 215 overweight people with hemoglobin A1C levels greater than 7%? were recruited and assigned to eat either a Mediterranean-type diet or a low-fat diet. The Mediterranean diet was rich in vegetables and whole grains and low in red meat, which was replaced with fish or poultry. Overall, the diet consisted of no more than 50% of daily calories from carbohydrates and no less than 30% of calories from fat (mostly from olive oil).

The low-fat diet was based on American Heart Association guidelines and was rich in whole grains and limited in sweets with no more than 30% of calories from fat and 10% from saturated fats such as animal fats.

After four years, the researchers noted that only 44 percent of participants who followed the Mediterranean-style diet required diabetes medications compared to 70 percent in the low-fat diet group.

So what is it about the Mediterranean diet that makes it so healthy?

There are many factors at work in a diet that consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. Thousands of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes provide a multitude of benefits. For example, olive oil, along with nuts, seeds and fish provide beneficial omega-3 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory effects that help to stabilize blood glucose levels.

Overall, the researchers in the study aimed to meet three American Diabetes Association goals: keep blood pressure under control, lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and limit levels of hemoglobin A1C, a measure of an out-of-control blood sugar.? More? people on the Mediterranean diet reached their goal than those on the low-fat diet.

Compared with a low-fat diet, the low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean-style diet led to more favorable changes in glycemic control and coronary risk factors and delayed the need for diabetic drug therapy.

Nancy Hirsch VisiVite.Com Certified Nutritionist

Nancy Hirsch VisiVite.Com Certified Nutritionist

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