Diet options for type 2 diabetes: eating plans can vary, study suggests

There isn't a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to a diet that can prevent and control type 2 diabetes, a recent study suggests.

A review of randomized clinical trials and observational studies on diabetes and nutrition revealed that certain dietary patterns, regardless of weight loss, could help stave off the condition, as well as manage current symptoms better than other diets.

"We undertook this review because we believe that most of the current dietary guidelines for patients with diabetes do not reflect recent evidence," said Osama Hamdy, M.D., Ph.D., Medical Director of Joslin Diabetes Center's Obesity Clinical Program and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "Nutrition can be used as a medicine to prevent and control diabetes in a very effective way."

What should you be eating?

A major finding that is consistent with most research on the topic suggests that a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in whole grains, leafy vegetables and olive oil, is related to a lower risk of diabetes development, even without weight loss. This connection remained intact even when calories were not restricted, the authors found.

Other specific diets that proved beneficial for diabetes prevention and management included low-carbohydrate or low glycemic index diets, which were linked to a lower risk for cardiovascular disease.

Specific foods that were associated with reduced type 2 diabetes risk included leafy green vegetables, oat cereal, yogurt, walnuts, apples, and coffee.

Appropriate healthy fat intake, too, was found to be associated with lower type 2 diabetes risk.

"When people started eating less fat, they compensated by eating more refined carbohydrates, which stimulate insulin secretion and increase fat deposition," said Dr. Hamdy.

Findings of the study are published in Lancet.

Source: Joslin Diabetes Center

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