Eating a Mediterranean diet could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and mortality among people who have undergone kidney transplantation, research suggests.
The Mediterranean diet, which involves lots of vegetables and fibre, has long been advocated as a treatment for people with existing diabetes because it can help with weight loss and better control of blood glucose levels.
In this new study, scientists at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands wanted to assess whether the diet could reduce high rates of new-onset diabetes in patients who have just received kidney transplantation.
“Patients with a high [Mediterranean diet score] had a four times lower risk of [new-onset diabetes after transplantation] and a two times lower risk of all-cause mortality,” said study author Maryse C. J. Oste.
“These results suggest that a healthy diet is of paramount importance for patients who receive a new kidney.”
A total of 468 adults without diabetes underwent renal transplant between November 2008 and May 2011, all of whom completed a 177-item food questionnaire beforehand.
Fifty four per cent of the participants had a high Mediterranean diet score, which was associated with both a lower risk of new-onset diabetes after transplantation and all-cause mortality. The findings existed independent of age and sex and adjustment for physical activity, smoking status and total energy intake.
“These results suggest that healthy dietary habits are of paramount importance for renal transplant recipients (RTR),” said the researchers.
Oste and colleagues added that more attention is needed on the nutritional habits of RTR, and hypothesised that greater Mediterranean diet adherence could further reduce these risks.
The study was published online in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research &Care.