In a nutshell
This study examined if patients with Type 1 diabetes (T1D) who followed a healthy or Mediterranean diet had a higher quality of life. The authors found that patients who followed the Mediterranean diet had a better quality of life, but neither diet improved patients’ satisfaction with treatment.
An essential part of treatment for T1D includes lifestyle changes, such as exercising and eating healthier. A healthy diet involves increasing consumption of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts while reducing processed foods. The Mediterranean diet is similar but limits the amount of red meat.
T1D is associated with other health complications, such as heart disease. As a result, a patient’s quality of life and satisfaction with treatment can decrease. However, it is unclear if patients who follow the Mediterranean diet or a healthy diet have a higher quality of life.
Methods & findings
258 patients with T1D completed 3 surveys – one on diet, another on quality of life and a third on treatment satisfaction. Of these, 166 patients moderately adhered to and 32 highly adhered to a Mediterranean diet. 195 patients had a low healthy eating score and 63 patients had a high healthy eating score.
Patients that followed a Mediterranean diet had a 32% higher diabetes-related quality of life score than patients that did not follow a Mediterranean diet. However, neither a Mediterranean diet nor a healthy diet were associated with an improved overall quality of life score.
Overall, treatment satisfaction was not impacted by a Mediterranean diet or healthy eating. However, healthy eating did improve the “convenience” and “flexibility” scores.
Patients that moderately or highly followed a Mediterranean diet had more favourable HDL levels, a beneficial type of cholesterol. Patients who poorly followed the diet had an average HDL level of 57.5 mg/dL, compared to 63.5 mg/dL in patients who moderately followed the diet and 69 mg/dL in patients who highly followed it.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that a Mediterranean diet can improve patients’ quality of life. Healthy eating may boost some aspects of treatment satisfaction.
The fine print
This study examined patients’ quality of life at one time and would benefit by assessing patients over time. The study also did not take into account medications patients were receiving.
Original Title :
The Mediterranean Diet is Associated with an Improved Quality of Life in Adults with Type 1 Diabetes.
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