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The Mediterranean Diet Was Bested By The PPT Diet For Post-Meal Blood Sugar Response

Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer
By Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer
Eliza Sullivan is a food writer and SEO editor at mindbodygreen. She writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She studied journalism at Boston University.
Image by Guille Faingold / Stocksy
October 8, 2021

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, researchers found that a personalized postprandial-targeting diet (PPT diet) was more effective than the Mediterranean diet in improving glycemic control in people with prediabetes.

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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.

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How did the diets affect post-meal blood sugar?

The study had 225 adults with prediabetes either follow a MED diet or a PPT diet for six months, with an additional six-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.

The bottom line.

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.

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Eliza Sullivan
Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer

Eliza Sullivan is an SEO Editor at mindbodygreen, where she writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She received a B.S. in journalism and B.A. in english literature with honors from Boston University, and she has previously written for Boston Magazine, TheTaste.ie, and SUITCASE magazine.