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High-MUFA Diet benefits Type 2 Diabetics

A year-long energy-restricted, high-monounsaturated fat (MUFA) diet was seen to prove beneficial for type 2 diabetics. Researchers reported in the first online issue of Diabetes Care that it is as effective as a high-carbohydrate (CHO), low-fat diet.

The aim of this randomized trial in 124 overweight or obese type 2 diabetic patients was to compare the effects of the high-MUFA diet with the high-CHO diet in controlling body weight and glucose levels. Participants were then randomly assigned to the high-MUFA or high-CHO diet for a year, strictly supervised by registered dietitians.

The high-MUFA diet included 45 percent carbohydrates, 15 percent protein and 40 percent fat (with 20 percent monounsaturated fat). On the other hand, the high-CHO diet consisted of 60 percent carbohydrates, 15 percent protein and 25 percent fat.

At baseline and during the 4th, 8th and 12th month of the trial, anthropometric and metabolic parameters were measured in the participants. At one year, participants from both groups were seen to have a four percent decrease in initial body weight, and an improvement in body fat and weight circumference. They also had similar fasting glucose and insulin levels, HbA1c levels, diastolic blood pressure and HDL cholesterol levels.

In addition, those who had the largest amount of weight loss and HbA1c improvement were the ones who underwent counseling on a weekly basis. As the contact with the dietitians lessened, these results also “plateaued”.

However, a subgroup of 36 participants underwent 18 assessments after completing the 52-week diet. It was shown that these participants were able to maintain weight loss and levels of HbA1c suggesting that they were able to maintain the lifestyle change without counseling.

Researchers concluded that a high-MUFA diet could also be an alternative to a high-CHO diet in type 2 diabetics. The effects of the study were considered “clinically meaningful” as they could help reduce cardiovascular risks.

Limitations of study included failure of both the high-MUFA and high-CHO groups to reach their target goals, limitations of self-reporting, lack of data about medication usage and lack of sophisticated measures of glucose metabolism.

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