Dietary patterns and management of type 2 diabetes: A systematic review of randomised clinical trials

D. Papamichou, D. B. Panagiotakos, C. Itsiopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


Background and aim: The aim of the present review is to examine evidence from published studies on the effectiveness of six or more months of low carbohydrate, macrobiotic, vegan, vegetarian, Mediterranean and intermittent fasting (IF) diets compared to low fat diets on diabetes control and management. Methods and results: In accordance with PRISMA guidelines, Cochrane CENTRAL, PubMed and Scopus databases were systematically searched for relevant studies. Twenty randomised controlled trials (RCTs) > 6 months that investigated the effectiveness of various dietary patterns on type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) were included. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane tool. There were no significant differences in glycemic control, weight and lipids for the majority of low carbohydrate diets (LCDs) compared to low fat diets (LFDs). Four out of fifteen LCD interventions showed better glycemic control while weight loss was greater in one study. The Mediterranean dietary pattern demonstrated greater reduction in body weight and HbA1c levels and delayed requirement for diabetes medications. The vegan and macrobiotic diet demonstrated improved glycemic control, while the vegetarian diet showed greater body weight reduction and insulin sensitivity. Conclusions: Although more long-term intervention trials are required, mounting evidence supports the view that vegan, vegetarian and Mediterranean dietary patterns should be implemented in public health strategies, in order to better control glycemic markers in individuals with T2DM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-543
Number of pages13
JournalNutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


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