- Weekly nutrition education programs can help improve outcomes for patients with type 2 diabetes
- A simple, inexpensive dietary intervention program helps in the management of diabetes
- Education program helps improve body weight, blood sugars, and cholesterol levels of diabetic patients
Medical prescription alone is not enough in the management of diabetes. However, making changes in the diet and nutrition education programs can make a great deal of difference to people with diabetes, reveals a new study.
A research team from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine have set up a study in a private endocrinology office in Washington, D.C published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Free Nutrition Classes
Even though the blood sugar levels were under control in patients with diabetes, these classes helped them improve their body weight, blood sugars, and cholesterol levels.
Two different diets were found to be effective during the 20-week study. The diet consisted of a low-fat, vegan diet and a portion-controlled eating pattern. Participants in both the groups consumed less meat, fat, and cholesterol.
These results reveal that a simple, inexpensive dietary intervention program can help improve diabetes management.
"Doctors can turn their waiting rooms into classrooms. It's simple and very effective. Patients learn about healthy food changes, and can share tips, swap recipe ideas, and work through challenges together," said the study's author Neal Barnard, M.D.
Dietary Interventions are Effective
A participant from this study said that being in a class with others who have the same goals had helped him to be on track.
Previous studies have also revealed that dietary interventions are effective in the management of diabetes, as they simultaneously improve several other health markers.
Plant-based diets contain whole grains, fruits, vegetables, tofu, and hummus, which are free of animal fat and cholesterol. These diets treat the cause of type 2 diabetes by reducing body fat and improves insulin sensitivity.
Plant-based diets aid in weight loss, glycemic control, lipid control, and blood pressure.
"Nutrition is one of the most powerful tools we have in the fight against diabetes," adds Dr. Barnard. This study shows that even clinicians who are hard pressed for time can give group instruction to their patients.
Currently, over 100 million Americans are living with prediabetes or diabetes, a leading contributor to cardiovascular disease, blindness, amputations, and renal impairment.
The Barnard Medical Center in Washington, D.C., has already started with the weekly nutrition education classes and support groups for diabetic patients.
The center was founded in 1985 is a non-profit health organization that aids to promote preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research and medical training.
Global Diabetes Burden
- Worldwide, about 415 million adults (1 in 11) are currently diagnosed with diabetes
- Globally, one person with diabetes dies every 6 seconds
- It is estimated that 642 million adults, I. e., 1 in 10 will develop diabetes by 2040
- Gestational diabetes affects one in seven births
Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic, hormonal disorder. It is caused when the pancreas does not produce the hormone "insulin." The two major forms of diabetes are type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Both these diabetes share elevated blood sugar (glucose) levels due to absolute or relative insufficiencies of insulin.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a disease that has serious implications. It has the potential to damage body organs such as the eyes, kidneys and the heart.
However, it may be heartening to know that the disease can be managed mainly by a conscious change in a person's lifestyle which primarily comprises of regular exercises and healthy eating.
Here are few tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle:
- Eat a balanced, healthy diet
- Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Cut down on the consumption of sugar and saturated fats
- Limit salt intake
- Avoid smoking and alcohol
- Get adequate sleep
- Exercise regularly, at least 30 minutes per day
- Neal D. Barnard, Susan M. Levin, Lise Gloede, et al. Turning the Waiting Room into a Classroom: Weekly Classes Using a Vegan or a Portion-Controlled Eating Plan Improve Diabetes Control in a Randomized Translational Study, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and DieteticsDOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2017.11.017