(HealthDay News) – Among those with a particular genetic variant associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, adherence to a Mediterranean diet reduces increased fasting glucose and lipids and reduces the risk of stroke, according to a study published online Aug. 13 in Diabetes Care.

Dolores Corella, DPharm, PhD, from the University of Valencia in Spain, and colleagues analyzed the association between the transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2)-rs7903146 polymorphism (C>T, associated with type 2 diabetes) and plasma lipids and cardiovascular disease in 7,018 participants at high cardiovascular risk (55–80 years old) who had been randomized to a Mediterranean diet with extra virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet with mixed nuts, or a low-fat diet (control). About 14% of participants were homozygous carriers (TT) of the TCF7L2-rs7903146 polymorphism.

After a median follow-up of 4.8 years, the researchers found a significant association between the TCF7L2-rs7903146 TT homozygous polymorphism and type 2 diabetes. Greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet significantly reduced fasting glucose, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides. Among TT homozygotes compared with CC homozygotes, the low-fat control group had a significantly higher incidence of stroke (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.91), while those on the Mediterranean diet had a significantly reduced incidence of stroke (adjusted hazard ratio 0.96).

“Our novel results suggest that Mediterranean diet may not only reduce increased fasting glucose and lipids in TT individuals, but also stroke incidence,” Corella and colleagues conclude.

One author is an unpaid scientific advisor to the International Nut Council and another is an unpaid scientific advisor to the California Walnut Commission.

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