Significant weight loss boosts chances for type 2 diabetes remission, stresses Diabetes UK

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16 Mar 2018 --- In light of studies finding that weight loss may make remission possible in type 2 diabetics, new nutritional guidelines from Diabetes UK will encourage healthy and personalized eating patterns. Diets should be specific to patients as "there is not [a] one-size-fits-all approach" for diabetics. The guidelines are evidence-based and reflect recent research advances, chiefly of a Diabetes UK funded study called DIRECT.

The study – DIRECT – suggested that type 2 diabetes remission can occur with significant weight loss. This echoes findings from The Lancet in 2016, which also found that weight management programs can have this effect.

The guidelines outline the consistently strong evidence that suggests that eating certain foods can help reduce the risk of type 2, can manage blood glucose levels in people with type 2 and reduce the overall risk of cardiovascular disease. The suggested foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, nuts and pulses. Eating less red and processed meat, refined carbohydrates and sugar-sweetened beverages is also recommended.

These recommended foods are often associated with the Mediterranean-style diet, but can be adapted to take into account cultural and personal preferences. Previous recommendations had relied on more nutrients, but this food-based approach provides people at risk and with diabetes more flexibility.

Following a low-glycemic diet can also help regulate blood glucose levels, previous studies have found, and they commonly feature metabolic regulating products such as whole grains and pulses. Furthermore, sugar substitutes and fiber have been found to be useful additions. 

“These new guidelines support an individualized approach to managing both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The recommendations are more specific about clinical outcomes, so we hope they will help all people with diabetes to better understand what they can do to manage their condition. For people with type 2 diabetes, the potential to put their condition into remission is very exciting,” says Dr Pam Dysons, Research dietitian at Oxford University and co-chair of the guidelines group.

The call for further individualization of diabetes treatment was covered by NutritionInsight, regarding a study that identified at least five additional sub-categories of diabetes, as opposed to the commonly accepted ‘type 1 and type 2’  The study suggested that each group required individualized treatment, due to differentiation in health risks.

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