A diet based on meat and rich, healthy fats like olive oil has been shown to be most effective for weight loss and blood sugar reduction in people with diabetes, according to a study that has gathered evidence over the past 10 years.
Benefits have also been seen for a diet low in carbohydrates and simple sugars and high in protein.
“If you look at the different types of diets, these four can improve various aspects of diabetes control,” said lead study author Dr. Olubukola Ajala .
More than 24 million people across the country have type 2 diabetes. People with this condition cannot store glucose efficiently in their cells, and blood sugar levels can become dangerously high. Lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and reduced calorie intake, can improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of complications of the disease, but it was not clear which diet worked best.
Ajala and her colleagues reviewed the results of 20 studies comparing the effect of seven popular diets for adults with type 2 diabetes. The Mediterranean diet, the low-carb diet, the high-protein diet, and the low-glycemic index diet – in which foods are ranked according to how quickly their carbohydrates are converted to glucose – all reduced blood sugar for all participants.
After following the diet for at least 6 months, people on the Mediterranean diet lost an average of 4 kg. No other diet had such a significant effect on the participants’ weight.
The Mediterranean diet may be more successful because it is simpler than the low-carb, high-protein diet. The Mediterranean diet is not the only way to achieve weight loss and improve heart health. It’s more important to take a balanced approach, including eating fruits and vegetables, taking in moderate portions, and talking to your doctor before making any dietary changes.