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Study in Annals of Internal Medicine Finds Mediterranean-Style Diet More Effective than Low-Fat Diet In Reducing Need for Drug Therapy in Patients with Newly Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes

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

disease.

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