Research Article| Volume 21, ISSUE 9, P740-747, September 2011

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Can the Mediterranean diet lower HbA1c in type 2 diabetes? Results from a randomized cross-over study


      Background and aims

      To investigate the impact of a diet modeled on the traditional Cretan Mediterranean diet on metabolic control and vascular risk in type 2 diabetes.

      Methods and results

      Twenty-seven subjects (47–77 yrs) with type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to consume either the intervention diet ad libitum or their usual diet for 12 weeks and then cross over to the alternate diet. Most of the meals and staple foods for the intervention diet were provided. Lipids, glycemic variables, blood pressure, homocysteine, C-reactive protein, plasma carotenoids and body composition (anthropometry and dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) were assessed at baseline, and at the end of both diet periods. Dietary adherence was monitored using plasma carotenoid and fatty acid (FA) analysis, complemented by diet diaries. Compared with usual diet, on the ad libitum Mediterranean intervention diet glycosylated haemoglobin fell from 7.1% (95% CI: 6.5–7.7) to 6.8% (95% CI: 6.3–7.3) (p=0.012) and diet quality improved significantly [plant:animal (g/day) food ratio increased from 1.3 (95% CI: 1.1–1.5) to 5.4 (95% CI: 4.3–6.6) (p<0.001)], plasma lycopene and lutein/zeaxanthin increased (36% and 25%, respectively), plasma saturated and trans FAs decreased, and monounsaturated FAs increased.


      A traditional moderate-fat Mediterranean diet improves glycemic control and diet quality in men and women with well-controlled type 2 diabetes, without adverse effects on weight.


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