Scientists from Stanford University found that while the keto and Mediterranean diets both can help people manage diabetes, the Mediterranean diet appears easier to maintain.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose).
With type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin, or it resists insulin.
Symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, hunger, fatigue, and blurred vision. In some cases, there may be no symptoms. Treatments include diet, exercise, medication, and insulin therapy.
Prediabetes means you have a higher-than-normal blood sugar level. It’s not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes yet.
But without lifestyle changes, adults and children with prediabetes are at high risk to develop type 2 diabetes.
Scientists have shown that a low-carb diet could benefit people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. But which one is the best is still unknown yet.
In the current study, researchers compared 2 low-carb diets: a ketogenic diet (keto diet) and a Mediterranean-plus diet.
A ketogenic diet primarily consists of high fats, moderate proteins, and very low carbohydrates.
Currently, it works as a rapid weight loss formula is a relatively new concept that has shown to be quite effective, at least in the short run.
A typical Mediterranean diet includes antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, olive oil, herbs, and spices.
It also promotes regular consumption of omega-3-rich fish and seafood and weekly consumption of poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt.
In the study, the team tested 33 adults with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes following the keto diet and the Mediterranean-plus diet for 12 weeks each.
The Mediterranean-plus diet incorporated legumes, fruits, and whole, intact grains, while the keto diet avoided them.
The researchers measured the change in glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) after 12 weeks on each diet. They also examined body weight, fasting insulin, glucose, blood fats, and nutrient intake.
The team found that the HbA1c values did not differ between diets at 12 weeks.
Triglycerides decreased more for the keto diet compared with the Mediterranean-plus diet and LDL cholesterol was higher for the keto diet compared with the Mediterranean-plus diet.
The researchers also found that body weight decreased by 8% compared with 7% and HDL cholesterol increased by 11% (compared with 7% for the keto diet compared with the Mediterranean-plus diet.
However, people had lower intakes of fiber and 3 nutrients on the keto diet compared with the Mediterranean-plus diet. Twelve-week follow-up data suggest the Mediterranean-plus diet is more sustainable.
Based on the findings, the team concluded that HbA1c values were not different between diets after 12 weeks, likely due to several shared dietary aspects.
The keto diet led to a greater decrease in triglycerides but also had increased LDL cholesterol and lower nutrient intakes from avoiding legumes, fruits, and whole, intact grains, as well as being less sustainable.
The research is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and was conducted by Christopher D. Gardner et al.
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