Washington: Mediterranean-style diet that emphasizes on fruits, vegetables and legumes, whole grains, fish, and using olive oil and herbs in place of butter and salt may help people with diabetes lose weight and lower blood sugar.
A review of evidence from the last 10 years found that diets lean on meat and rich in healthy fats like olive oil were most effective at promoting weight loss and lowering blood sugar among diabetics.
Benefits were also seen with diets low in carbohydrates, high in protein or low in simple sugars.
People with type 2 diabetes cannot store glucose in their cells effectively, and their blood sugar levels can go dangerously high. Lifestyle changes like weight loss and cutting calorie intake can improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of complications from the disease, but it has not been clear which diet plans work best.
Dr. Olubukola Ajala, a diabetes specialist at Western Sussex Hospitals in the UK, and her colleagues reviewed the results of 20 studies comparing the effect of seven popular diets on adults with type 2 diabetes. Mediterranean diets, low-carb diets, high-protein diets and low glycemic index diets - which rank foods by how quickly their carbs turn into glucose - all lowered participants` blood sugar.
After following the diet for at least six months, the people on a Mediterranean eating plan also lost an average of 4 pounds. No other diet had a significant impact on weight, according to the findings.
Other studies have found association between Mediterranean diets and reduced risks of cancer, Alzheimer`s disease, Parkinson`s disease and death from heart attack.
Though the review found no evidence that vegetarian, vegan or high-fiber diets aided in weight loss, they might still have promise for improving blood sugar control, the report noted.
In addition, low-carb, low-glycemic and Mediterranean diets all led to increases in markers of heart health - "good" cholesterol rose by 4 percent to 10 percent, and triglycerides fell by up to 9 percent.
Katherine Zeratsky, a registered dietician at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, thinks Mediterranean diets may be more successful because they are easier to maintain than restrictive low-carb or high-protein diets.
But Zeratsky noted that a 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 fruits and vegetables, eating moderate portions and talking to a doctor before embarking on a plan, she said.
The findings are published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.