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Mediterranean diet

Researchers Reluctantly Admit Mediterranean Diet Beats Diabetes Drugs for Controlling Blood Sugar

Saturday, January 09, 2010 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: Mediterranean diet, diabetes, health news


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(NaturalNews) For the first time, a long-term health study has demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet may help diabetes patients control their blood sugar without the use of medication.

"A Mediterranean-style diet is a very important part in the treatment of diabetes," said endocrinologist Loren Greene of New York University Medical Center, who was not involved in the study. "We knew that, but there just hasn't been a good study to confirm this before."

In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers assigned 215 overweight, adult residents of Naples, Italy, to adhere to one of two diets. Participants in one group were assigned to follow a Mediterranean diet -- eating large quantities of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and certain healthy fats such as olive oil; favoring lean protein sources such as nuts, poultry and fish; and gaining no more than half their daily calories from carbohydrates. Participants in the other group were assigned to follow a low-fat diet similar to that recommended by the American Heart Association -- with no more than 30 percent of its daily calories from fat and 10 percent from saturated fat; low in sweets and high-fat snacks; and high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

All participants were instructed to limit their caloric intake to 1,800 calories per day for men and 1,500 per day for women. They were given regular nutrition counseling and urged to exercise regularly.

After four years, 56 percent of the participants in the Mediterranean diet group were able to manage their diabetes without drugs, compared with only 30 percent of those in the low-fat group. Participants eating a Mediterranean diet also maintained more weight loss and more improvement in levels of HDL ("bad") cholesterol and triglycerides.

Greene noted that as most patients dislike taking medication, the new study might provide an incentive for more diabetics to watch their diets.

"If you are told, 'If you don't want to go on medicine, stick to this diet,' then that's a pretty valuable tool at least for patient compliance," she said.

Sources for this story include: www.time.com.

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