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Mediterranean Diet Trumps Low-fat Diet for Diabetes Management

Patients on Low-Carbohydrate Mediterranean Diet Avoided Medication, Lost More Weight, and Decreased Some Coronary Risk Factors

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PHILADELPHIA, September 1, 2009 -- In one of the longest-term randomized trials of its kind, researchers compared the effects of a Mediterranean-style diet versus a typical low-fat diet for diabetes management. The trial was designed to assess the effectiveness, durability, and safety of the two diets on the need for diabetes medications in overweight patients with newly-diagnosed type 2 diabetes.

Researchers randomly assigned 215 patients to follow either a low carbohydrate, Mediterranean-style diet or a low-fat diet for four years. Nutritionists and dietitians counseled both groups in monthly sessions for the first year and bimonthly sessions for the next three years. After four years, 44 percent of patients in the Mediterranean-style diet group required antihyperglycemic drug therapy compared to 70 percent in the low-fat diet group. Patients in the Mediterranean diet group also experienced greater weight loss and an improvement in some coronary risk factors.

Patients on a Mediterranean diet mainly consume fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, and whole grains. The diet focuses on natural foods and healthy fats while eliminating processed foods.

Annals of Internal Medicine is one of the five most widely cited peer-reviewed medical journals in the world. The journal has been published for 82 years and accepts only 7 percent of the original research studies submitted for publication. Annals of Internal Medicine is published by the American College of Physicians.

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