Following a MedDiet with EVOO Lowers Need for Medications in Diabetics

A major clinical study found that participants who followed a Mediterranean diet in which the main source of fat was extra virgin olive oil reduced the need to begin using diabetes medications by more than 20 percent compared with participants following a low-fat diet.

Aug. 26, 2019
By Daniel Dawson

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A new study out of Spain has found that dia­bet­ics fol­low­ing a Mediterranean diet sup­ple­mented with extra vir­gin olive oil reduced the need to begin tak­ing new-onset glu­cose-low­er­ing med­ica­tions, com­pared with a con­trol group.

In a major clin­i­cal study, the University of the Basque Country and Spain’s Biomedical Research Center Consortium (Ciber) fol­lowed 3,230 dia­bet­ics for slightly more than three years.

A Mediterranean diet with extra vir­gin olive oil may be a use­ful eat­ing plan in the man­age­ment of per­sons with type 2 dia­betes.- Javier Basterra, co-author of the study

The dia­bet­ics were split into three groups. Participants in the first group fol­lowed a Mediterranean diet in which the main source of fat was extra vir­gin olive oil. Participants in the sec­ond group fol­lowed a Mediterranean diet in which the main fat source came from nuts. The con­trol group fol­lowed a low-fat diet.

At the end of the 3.2‑year trial, par­tic­i­pants in the first group reduced the need to begin using dia­betes med­ica­tions by 22 per­cent, com­pared with the con­trol group.

See Also: Olive Oil Health News

Participants with dia­betes who fol­lowed an energy-unre­stricted Mediterranean diet with extra vir­gin olive oil had sig­nif­i­cantly lower rates of ini­ti­a­tion of glu­cose-low­er­ing med­ica­tions,” Javier Basterra, a researcher at the University of Navarra and co-author of the study, told Olive Oil Times.

So a Mediterranean diet with extra vir­gin olive oil may be a use­ful eat­ing plan in the man­age­ment of per­sons with type 2 dia­betes,” he added.

However, par­tic­i­pants in the sec­ond group expe­ri­enced no sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in the need to begin using dia­betes med­ica­tions. The researchers attrib­uted this dif­fer­ence between the two vari­a­tions of the Mediterranean diet to each one’s abil­ity to con­trol lev­els of blood glu­cose in the body.

The lower need for med­ica­tion [either oral or injectable] with the Mediterranean diet pat­tern and extra vir­gin olive oil prob­a­bly reflects the supe­rior glycemic con­trol that was obtained with this diet dur­ing the long fol­low-up of the study,” Fernando Arós, a researcher at Ciber and one of the study’s authors, said.

Glycemic con­trol refers to the body’s abil­ity to keep blood glu­cose lev­els at the con­cen­tra­tion level typ­i­cal of a per­son with­out dia­betes, which is between 70 and 130 mil­ligrams per deciliter. Basterra attrib­uted the dif­fer­ence in lev­els of glycemic con­trol among the three diets to their nutri­ent com­po­si­tions.

It is pos­si­ble that there are dif­fer­ences between extra vir­gin olive oil and nuts,” Basterra said. At the end of the trial, 22 per­cent of total calo­ries in the MedDiet group were from extra vir­gin olive oil, whereas only eight per­cent of calo­ries were from nuts in the MedDiet and nuts group.”

The dif­fer­ences found with the low-fat diet were also likely due to the over­all com­po­si­tion of the dietary pat­tern,” he added.

Other fac­tors that deter­mine the need for the use of dia­betes med­ica­tions, such as age, gen­der, level of phys­i­cal fit­ness and pre-exist­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar con­di­tions, were all con­trolled for in the study. Adherence to the diet was also mea­sured sev­eral times through­out the study by both self-report­ing and blood tests.

This care­ful mon­i­tor­ing of adher­ence and other fac­tors related to dia­betes allowed the researchers to con­fi­dently link the impor­tance of the Mediterranean diet and extra vir­gin olive oil con­sump­tion to a reduced need to begin tak­ing dia­betes med­ica­tion.

The dietary pat­tern has undoubt­edly been the deter­mi­nant,” Arós said.

Previous stud­ies have found that con­sum­ing the Mediterranean diet sup­ple­mented with extra vir­gin olive oil low­ers the risk of devel­op­ing type 2 dia­betes and reduces the inci­dence of ges­ta­tional dia­betes in preg­nant women.

Basterra said that par­tic­i­pants in the trial would con­tinue to be mon­i­tored in order to deter­mine whether adher­ence to the Mediterranean diet sup­ple­mented with extra vir­gin olive oil has any other long-term health impacts on dia­bet­ics.





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