Whenever it goes up against other diets in studies, we often see the Mediterranean diet come out on top—but not this time. In a study published in the American Diabetes Association’s journal Diabetes Care, they found that a personalized postprandial-targeting diet (PPT diet) was more effective than the Mediterranean diet in improving glycemic control in people with prediabetes.
What is a personalized postprandial-targeting diet?
As a reminder, the Mediterranean diet (MED diet) is a diet that emphasizes fruits, veggies, whole grains, fish, beans, nuts, olive oil, herbs, and spices—with occasional dairy and poultry, and limited consumption of other animal products. It’s popular largely because of its easy to follow guidelines and impact on overall health, particularly cardiovascular health, metabolic health, brain health, and gut health.
By comparison a PPT diet is, according to the researchers, a diet that “relies on a machine learning algorithm that integrates clinical and microbiome features to predict personal postprandial glucose responses,” also known as the post-meal glucose response. Unlike diets like the Mediterranean diet, it is not a generalized set of guidelines for any person but rather is highly personalized to the individual.
How did the diets impact post-meal blood sugar?
The study had 225 adults with prediabetes either follow a MED diet or a PPT diet for 6-months, with an additional 6-month follow-up. All participants used continuous glucose monitors (GCM) for the duration of the study and follow-up.
Researchers found that both groups saw a reduction in the time that their daily glucose levels were over normal levels (over 140 mg/dL), but the group who followed a PPT diet saw significantly greater reductions, even during the full 12-month follow-up.
While the Mediterranean diet may be often considered one of the most healthy options for dietary guidelines, this research suggests that for people with prediabetes, following a more personalized plan like the PPT diet may be more effective at managing blood sugar spikes, especially after meals.