Investigators in Naples, Italy compared a Mediterranean-sytle diet with a low-fat American Heart Association (AHA) diet in a four year study of patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes. Participants were overweight (BMI=>25), had glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels above 11%, and were not on diabetic medications. Both diets contained the same number of calories and were rich in whole grains. The Mediterranean-type diet was also rich in vegetables and low in red meat, and included at least 30% of calories in fat (mostly olive oil). The AHA diet restricted sweets, fat was limited to no more than 30% of calories and 10% calories from saturated fat. After 4 years, only 44% of those on the Mediterranean diet required medication compared to 70% on the AHA diet–and they had lost more weight, had better HbA1c, HDL cholesterol, and tryglyceride levels.
PositiveTip: Lifestyle intervention (in this case limiting red meat and eating lots of vegetables) often provides impressive results in those willing to make necessary changes. A Mediterranean-style diet is very palatable to most!