PHILADELPHIA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found that compared
with a low-fat diet, a low-carbohydrate Mediterranean-style diet led to
more favorable changes in glycemic control and coronary risk factors and
delayed the need for antihyperglycemic drug therapy for overweight
patients with newly-diagnosed type 2 diabetes.
Compared with the standard U.S. diet, the Mediterranean diet uses larger
amounts of nuts, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. It also uses
fewer carbohydrates and larger amounts of “healthy” oil and fat, such as
olive oil. The diet has been shown to improve some risk factors for
heart disease and diabetes in people at risk for those diseases.
However, its effects in people who already have the diseases have not
been studied, and few direct comparisons of Mediterranean and standard
diets are available.
The study involved 215 overweight people with newly diagnosed type 2
diabetes who were not yet treated with drugs. The researchers randomly
divided the participants into two groups. They gave the first group the
information they needed to eat a Mediterranean diet. They gave the
second group the information they needed to eat a low-fat diet. They
then followed the two groups for four years. They compared the time it
took participants’ blood sugar levels to increase high enough to require
treatment with diabetes drugs.
After four years, 44% of the participants in the Mediterranean diet
group needed treatment with diabetes drugs versus 70% for the low fat
diet group. Participants who ate a Mediterranean diet also lost more
weight and had greater improvements in some risk factors for heart
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