Sunday, October 30, 2022

Are Mediterranean Diets Superior to Intermittent Fasting Diets in the Long-Run?

Obesity is associated with common ailments including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, some forms of cancer, and periodontal disease. And there are a number of diets used in the treatment of obesity. Two types of diets that receive a good deal of attention are Mediterranean diets and Intermittent Fasting (IF) diets. And one study, comparing the two types of diets, has concluded that an energy restricted form of the Mediterranean diet is superior to IF diets for weight management and body composition.

The Mediterranean diet is said to have originated in the Mediterranean basin in what some people call the cradle of society. The diet's foundation consists of the following: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts, olive oil instead of butter, herbs and spices rather than salt, red meat only a few times a month, fish and poultry. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to be a healthy eating pattern.

Intermittent fasting (IF) is a recurring type of eating pattern where there are alternating periods of eating and fasting. In one study where high quality food was used in the IF diets, "The researchers concluded that [an] IF protocol optimized weight loss and improved body composition, cardiometabolic health, and hunger management.”
While both Mediterranean and IF diets have received positive reviews, one study compared an energy restricted Mediterranean diet with four different IF diets, and concluded that the Mediterranean diet is superior to IF diets.
The 13-week study consisted of 360 participants. The participants' ages ranged from 18 to 65 years. The participants had BMIs from 27 to 35 kg/m2. During weekly face-to-face meetings, the investigators collected participant data, including demographic information, physical activity related numbers, eating patterns,  and anthropometric measurements.

The researchers concluded that both the IF diets and the Mediterranean diet led to weight loss and similar, positive anthropometric changes. However, the researchers suggested that the long-term health benefits  are not apparent for IF eating patterns. Therefore, for the long-run, the Mediterranean diet is a better choice.

Of course, there are a number of  good, well-known diets in use today. And Mediterranean and IF diets are among them. While the Mediterranean diet could be a better diet in the long-run, determining the best diet-fit for a patient may be more important than a particular diet. Indeed, the best diet for an individual is the diet the individual will stick to.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Prediabetes is Linked to Coronary Artery Calcification

According to the CDC, 96 million adults in America have prediabetes. Additionally, the majority of people with prediabetes are unaware of their disease. And prediabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is a condition that deserves attention not only because it can lead to type 2 diabetes, but because the condition is associated with other diseases. For example, a recent study reveals that there is a link between prediabetes and coronary artery calcification.

The American Diabetes Association and the CDC define prediabetes as follows: 5.7% ≤ HbA1c ≤ 6.4%;  100 mg/dL ≤ FPG ≤ 125 mg/dL;  140 mg/dL  ≤ OGTT≤ 199 mg/dL. Prediabetes is known to be associated with cardiovascular disease, kidney problems and, of course, diabetes. And, as mentioned above, the link to coronary artery calcification has been uncovered.

Coronary artery calcification, or CAC, is a buildup of calcium in the two main arteries of the heart, commonly known as the coronary arteries. This buildup occurs after about five years of plaque (fat and cholesterol) formation in the arteries. CAC is a sign of coronary artery disease and can provide information to your healthcare practitioner to assist them in assessing your cardiovascular risk.

In the CAC study, three groups of participants were established using fasting blood glucose (FBG) and HbA1c. One group was defined by the following prediabetes characteristics: 100 mg/dL ≤ FBG ≤ 125 mg/dL and HbA1c < 5.7%). Another group was defined by the following: FBG < 100 mg/dl and 5.7% ≤ HbA1c ≤ 6.4%. And finally, one group was defined by the following:  100 mg/dL ≤ FBG ≤ 125 mg/dL and 5.7% ≤ HbA1c ≤ 6.4%. Consisting of 1541 participants, the study took place between 2011 to 2019. None of the participants had a history of cardiovascular disease.

The investigators concluded that "CAC risk and CAC progression were consistently highest in individuals meeting both [the] glucose and HbA1c criteria" for prediabetes, while individuals meeting either one of the prediabetes criteria "showed a significantly increased risk of CAC progression."

The study just adds more evidence to the greatly held position that prediabetes should be treated because of its link to more serious health conditions.


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