Impact of different dietary approaches on blood lipid control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review and network meta-analysis

Eur J Epidemiol. 2019 Sep;34(9):837-852. doi: 10.1007/s10654-019-00534-1. Epub 2019 Jun 14.


The aim of this study was to assess the effects of different dietary approaches on low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and triglyceride (TG) levels in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) by applying network meta-analysis (NMA). Systematic electronic and hand searches were conducted until January 2018. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with an intervention period of ≥ 12 weeks, focussing on adults with T2D, and comparing dietary approaches regarding LDL, HDL or TGs, were included. For each outcome measure, random effects NMA was performed in order to determine the effect of each dietary approach compared to every other dietary intervention. Mean differences (MDs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated, and for the ranking, the surface under the cumulative ranking curves (SUCRA) was determined. Additionally, the credibility of evidence was evaluated. 52 RCTs (44 for LDL, 48 for HDL and 52 for TGs) comparing nine dietary approaches (low fat, vegetarian, Mediterranean, high protein, moderate carbohydrate, low carbohydrate, control, low glycaemic index/glycaemic load and Palaeolithic diet) enrolling 5360 T2D patients were included. The vegetarian diet most effectively reduced LDL levels [MD (95% CI): - 0.33 (- 0.55, - 0.12) mmol/L; compared to the control diet]. The Mediterranean diet beneficially raised HDL [MD (95% CI): 0.09 (0.04, 0.15) mmol/L] and decreased TG levels [MD (95% CI): - 0.41 (- 0.72, - 0.10) mmol/L] compared to the control diet. The Mediterranean diet was the most effective dietary approach to manage diabetic dyslipidaemia altogether (SUCRA: 79%). The overall findings are mainly limited by low credibility of evidence.

Keywords: Blood lipids; Diet; Network meta-analysis; Systematic review; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Diet Therapy / methods*
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood
  • Network Meta-Analysis*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Triglycerides / blood*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol