Experts recommend eating a low-fat diet to manage diabetes. But, evidence shows that a Mediterranean diet may be even better in helping people with type 2 diabetes keep it under control without drugs.
A Mediterranean diet is rich in vegetables and whole grains. In a new Italian study the subjects ate the Mediterranean way, with 30 percent of their calories from fat (mostly olive oil). They were better able to manage their disease without diabetes medications than those people who ate a low-fat diet with no more than 30 percent of calories from fat (with less than 10 percent coming from saturated fat choices).
The study was thorough. After four years, researchers found that only 44 percent of people who were on the Mediterranean diet required diabetes medications to control their blood sugars, while 70 percent of those who followed the low-fat diet needed medications.
Katherine Esposito, MD, of the Second University of Naples, says the results “reinforce the message that benefits of lifestyle interventions should not be overlooked.” Which is a fancy way of saying your diet is a factor in managing your diabetes.
It’s not that the low-fat diet was unhealthy. In fact, it was based on the American Heart Association guidelines, which is rich in whole grains, limited sweets, with no more than 30 percent of calories from fat and 10 percent from saturated fats. The weight loss between the two groups was pretty much the same. But, the Mediterranean diet not only was more beneficial with diabetes issues, the people also experienced an improvement in additional heart disease risk factors.