Can diet alone control type 2 diabetes? No evidence yet

July 16, 2008

Despite strong evidence that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or at least delayed by a combination of lifestyle changes and good dietary advice, a team of Cochrane Researchers found that there is no indication whether dietary advice alone can prevent the disease.

Type 2 diabetes is very common and the number of people affected is increasing. The disease is linked to obesity, with 80% of individuals who develop the disease being obese. Therefore as the incidence of obesity rises around the world, so too does the incidence of type 2 diabetes. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 180 million people worldwide have diabetes. It claims that this number is likely to more than double by 2030.

When a team of Cochrane Researchers set out to see if dietary advice alone could help a person with type 2 diabetes, they were only able to identify two trials that together involved just 358 people.

"Considering the importance of this disorder, we were disappointed to find such a small amount of relevant data," says lead researcher Lucie Nield, who works in Centre for Food, Physical Activity & Obesity, University of Teesside, Middlesbrough.

The two studies did, however, indicate that dietary advice alone could play an important role. One study randomly assigned people to either a control group or a dietary advice group. After six years 67.7% of people in the control group had diabetes, compared with only 43.8% in the advice group. This was a 33% reduction. In another study 12 months of dietary advice led to significant reductions in many diabetes related factors, such as insulin resistance, fasting C-peptide, fasting proinsulin, fasting blood glucose, fasting triglycerides, and fasting cholesterol and PAI-1.

"These two studies give grounds for believing that dietary advice alone could play an important role in reducing type 2 diabetes, but we do need more well-designed, long-term studies before we can work out the best advice to give," says Nield.

Source: Wiley

Explore further: High-fat diet made Inuits healthier but shorter thanks to gene mutations, study finds

Related Stories

Carrot cake study on sugar in type 2 diabetes

January 8, 2008

Patients with type 2 diabetes are often advised to cut out sucrose (table sugar) all together. However, in recent years this traditional advice has been questioned by some researchers who suggest that moderate amounts of ...

Think saturated fat contributes to heart disease? Think again

October 1, 2010

For the past three decades, saturated fat has been considered a major culprit of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and as a result dietary advice persists in recommending reduced consumption of this macronutrient. However, new ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.