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Interventions and public health nutrition

Comparative effect of two Mediterranean diets versus a low-fat diet on glycaemic control in individuals with type 2 diabetes



Although benefits have been attributed to the Mediterranean diet, its effect on glycaemic control has not been totally elucidated. The aim of this work was to compare the effect of two Mediterranean diets versus a low-fat diet on several parameters and indices related to glycaemic control in type 2 diabetic subjects.


A multicentric parallel trial was conducted on 191 participants (77 men and 114 women) of the PREDIMED study in order to compare three dietary interventions: two Mediterranean diets supplemented with virgin olive oil (n=67; body mass index (BMI)=29.4±2.9) or mixed nuts (n=74; BMI=30.1±3.1) and a low-fat diet (n=50; BMI=29.8±2.8). There were no drop-outs. Changes in body weight and waist circumference were determined. Insulin resistance was measured by HOMA-IR index, adiponectin/leptin and adiponectin/HOMA-R ratios after 1 year of follow-up.


Increased values of adiponectin/leptin ratio (P=0.043, P=0.001 and P<0.001 for low-fat, olive oil and nut diets, respectively) and adiponectin/HOMA-IR ratio (P=0.061, P=0.027 and P=0.069 for low-fat, olive oil and nut diets, respectively) and decreased values of waist circumference (P=0.003, P=0.001 and P=0.001 for low-fat, olive oil and nut diets, respectively) were observed in the three groups. In both Mediterranean diet groups, but not in the low-fat diet group, this was associated with a significant reduction in body weight (P=0.347, P=0.003 and P=0.021 for low-fat, olive oil and nut diets, respectively).


Mediterranean diets supplemented with virgin olive oil or nuts reduced total body weight and improved glucose metabolism to the same extent as the usually recommended low-fat diet.

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This study was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Health (PI1001407, AGL2009-130906-C02-02, AGL2010-22319-C03-02, G03/140, RD06/0045), by Carlos III Health Institute (PREDIMED; CIBERobn), by Public Health Division of the Department of Health of the Autonomous Government of Catalonia in collaboration with Merck Sharp & Dohme Laboratories, by the Government of the Basque Country (IT-572-13) and by the University of the Basque Country (EDUNANOTEK, UFI11/32).

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Correspondence to M P Portillo.

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Lasa, A., Miranda, J., Bulló, M. et al. Comparative effect of two Mediterranean diets versus a low-fat diet on glycaemic control in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Eur J Clin Nutr 68, 767–772 (2014).

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  • Mediterranean diet
  • low-fat diet
  • glycaemic control
  • type 2 diabetes

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