Which Diets Help the Hearts of Folks With Type 1 Diabetes?

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Key Takeaways

  • Two popular diets can protect heart health in people with type 1 diabetes

  • Both the DASH and Mediterranean diets decreased blood markers used to assess heart health risk

  • Type 1 diabetics tend to eat more animal protein, which contains saturated fat and cholesterol

TUESDAY, July 2, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Two well-known healthy diets can lower heart disease risk in people with type 1 diabetes, a new study says.

People who ate similarly to the Mediterranean diet or the DASH diet had lower levels of blood markers that are used in clinical settings to assess heart health risk, researchers reported Sunday at a meeting of the American Society for Nutrition in Chicago.

“Both DASH and Mediterranean diets revealed protective associations, which means these dietary patterns can make a difference when consumed regularly,” researcher Arpita Basu, an associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition sciences at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, said in a news release.

The new study builds on earlier work in which researchers tied the DASH and Mediterranean diets to lesser fat accumulation around the heart and less hardening of the arteries.

For this study, 1,255 adults were tracked for six years, 563 of whom had type 1 diabetes.

Researchers assessed their diet using questionnaires to see who was eating in ways similar to the Mediterranean or DASH diets.

They found that adults with type 1 diabetes tend to consume high-fat diets, because their condition requires them to cut carbs. They tend to substitute in animal protein, which can be high in saturated fat and cholesterol.

“There is an urgent need to address dietary quality in adults with type 1 diabetes,” Basu said. “In a clinical setting, assessing dietary intakes using the DASH and Mediterranean dietary checklists could be an effective way to identify gaps and improve intakes.”

She added that "specific foods that are part of these dietary patterns, such as olives and nuts in the Mediterranean diet, could be added to the diet even if the entire diet cannot be altered.”

Findings presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The Mayo Clinic has more about the DASH diet.

SOURCE: American Society for Nutrition, news release, June 30, 2024 

What This Means For You

People with type 1 diabetes should consider adopting parts of the Mediterranean or DASH diets to help protect their heart health.

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