The Mediterranean diet may protect against diabetic retinopathy, according to a study published in Diabetes Care.
Andrés Díaz-López, from Rovira i Virgili University in Reus, Spain, and colleagues conducted a post hoc analysis of a cohort of patients with type 2 diabetes participating in the PREvención con DIeta MEDiterránea (PREDIMED) study.
Patients with type 2 diabetes (3,614 participants free of cardiovascular complications at enrollment; aged 55 to 80 years) were randomly assigned to one of three dietary interventions: MedDiet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil (MedDiet plus EVOO), MedDiet supplemented with mixed nuts (MedDiet plus Nuts) or a low-fat control diet.
During 6 years of follow up, 74 new cases of retinopathy and 168 cases of nephropathy were identified. The hazard ratios for diabetic retinopathy were 0.56 (95% CI, 0.32-0.97) with the MedDiet plus EVOO and 0.63 (95% CI, 0.35-1.11) with the MedDiet plus Nuts, compared with the control diet.
For nephropathy, no between-group differences were seen. Assessing the yearly updated information on adherence to the MedDiet, the hazard ratio for retinopathy in the highest vs. the lowest quintile was 0.34 (95% CI, 0.13-0.89; P=.001 for trend), but no significant associations were found for nephropathy.
The researchers conclude that a MedDiet enriched with EVOO may protect against diabetic retinopathy but not diabetic nephropathy.
Disclaimer: Several researchers disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the food and nutrition industry, which donated nuts and olive oil for the study.
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