Determining Dietary Patterns to Recommend for Type 2 Diabetes: An Umbrella Review

Cathryn Whiteley, Fiona Benton, Louisa Matwiejczyk, Natalie Luscombe-Marsh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
58 Downloads (Pure)


Some specific dietary patterns improve glycaemic levels and cardiovascular risk factors better than others. We aimed to identify the most effective dietary patterns using a food-focused approach to improve blood glucose management (primary outcome) and cardiovascular risk factors (secondary outcome) in people with type 2 diabetes. An umbrella review was conducted comparing dietary patterns for the management of these outcomes. Studies published between 2012 and 2022 were identified using PubMed Central, ProQuest, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Thirty systematic reviews met the inclusion criteria. Twenty-two of thirty reviews quantitated (via meta-analyses of over 212 randomised control trials) the effect size of different dietary patterns. Twelve reviews found Low-carbohydrate (LC), Mediterranean (M), Plant-based (PB), and/or Low-glycaemic Index (LGI) diets reduced HbA1c moderately more than control diets (typically a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet) (i.e., LC: −0.1 to −0.5%; M: −0.3 to −0.5%; PB: −0.2 to −0.4%; LGI −0.2 to −0.5%; all p-value < 0.01). We conclude that Low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, Plant-based, and Low-glycaemic Index dietary patterns are all clinically effective for people with type 2 diabetes as alternatives to high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets typically used for managing glycaemic levels and CVD risk. However, quality evidence about the sustainability of effects and safety remains limited, warranting future research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number861
Number of pages18
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2023


  • adults
  • dietary patterns
  • glycaemia
  • type 2 diabetes
  • umbrella review


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