Symptoms of type 2 diabetes onset may be prevented, or at least slowed, by consuming a Mediterranean diet, according to research from a group in Brazil led by Dr. Camila Risso de Barros and Dr. Sandra Roberta Ferreira. A group of pre-diabetic patients saw a reduction in fasting blood glucose when placed on an altered lifestyle plan including an increased intake of monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) and soluble fibers and a higher level of physical activity.
“Increases of MUFA and soluble fibers intakes promotes benefits on glucose metabolism, independently of adiposity, during a realistic lifestyle intervention in at-risk individuals,” wrote the authors in their journal article, “Realistic Changes in Monounsaturated Fatty Acids and Soluble Fibers Are Able to Improve Glucose Metabolism,” published in Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome.
The study involved 183 pre-diabetic adults who visited doctors within the Brazilian public health system; 129 completed the study. Study participants were coached on calorie restriction, saturated fat intake reduction, MUFA and fiber intake increases, and weight loss strategies. During the course of the study, participants were checked on by trained nutritionists to obtain 24-hour dietary recalls. Participants were also assessed by the International Physical Activity Questionnaire to determine activity levels.
Following the treatment period, blood pressure, oral glucose tolerance, and serum proteins were measured to determine any benefits of the intervention. Although patient weight, C-reactive protein, and insulin resistance were unchanged, fasting and 2-h glucose were reduced by increased MUFA and soluble fiber intake: from 98.7 mg/dL to 95.9 mg/dL and from 117.5 mg/dL to 113.2 mg/dL, respectively.
Although this is only one study involving fewer than 200 individuals, the benefits demonstrated by altered diet and physical activity habits can be gained by anyone interested in a potential change in fasting and 2-h glucose levels. Participants were on a regimen involving saturated fat intake less than 10% of calories, total fiber intake greater than 20 g per day, physical activity greater than 150 minutes per week, and weight loss of more than 5% if indicated.