Type 2 diabetes and trending diets

July 1, 2019 - Agne Karnisauskaite

 

Good nutrition is one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle. As obesity is one of the leading factors of type 2 diabetes, focused diet changes aim to help with weight management and a balanced diet.

There are no two diets that will work the same for helping patients with type 2 diabetes, but nutrition plays a big role in controlling symptoms. Since 2014, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has been rising by 8.5% therefore it’s important to make lifestyle changes to help prevent further complications.

There are several trending diets this year that are not only aimed at improving your overall health but can also help to lower and manage blood sugar levels.

 

The ketogenic diet is a low carbohydrate and high fat diet which puts your body into a state called ketosis, which helps to burn fat for energy and reduce blood sugar levels. Foods that are included in this diet are meats, fatty fish and healthy oils such as extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil. The keto diet can help type 2 diabetes patients improve glycemic control and help lose weight.

Some studies have shown that the keto diet can also help reduce medication for patients with type 2 diabetes – in a 21 participant research, 7 patients discontinued using diabetes medication and 10 reduced their intake.

 

The Nordic diet  was created to include locally found food items in the Nordic countries, which emphasize root vegetables, salmon and rye (to name a few). This type of diet reduces the amount of saturated fat consumed and emphasizes eating foods that are higher in healthy monounsaturated fat.

Although it does not completely cut out meat products, the Nordic diet suggests these can be consumed in moderation. A study in Sweden found that this type of diet helps to improve insulin sensitivity and body weight, and reduces hemoglobin A1C in patients already living with Type 2 diabetes.

The Nordic diet is a variation of the Mediterranean diet, but utilizes readily available produce rather than relying on imports, making it a more sustainable option for people living in these countries.

 

Other trending diets this year are plant-based diets, such as veganism. As products are becoming more available and moving into the everyday supermarkets, it’s becoming more accessible to buy meat alternatives.  Research has found that people who adopted the vegan diet had a lower BMI which effectively reduced blood glucose levels.

One reason for the success of this diet is that a vegan diet promotes consumption of monounsaturated fats which contribute to better insulin sensitivity, better blood sugar levels and overall better levels of insulin as opposed to consuming saturated fats from animal products which can contribute to high cholesterol levels.

 

Diets are a great way to aid in prevention and maintenance of type 2 diabetes, but no one diet will work the same for everyone. The keto diet, Nordic diet and veganism are diets that vary greatly therefore nutrition therapy needs to be individualized, taking into consideration age, culture and environment, amongst other factors of the individual, so that they find the right combination of diets that are appropriate and lead to better health.

It is important to seek guidance from a doctor or nutritional therapist to be able to monitor the effects of different diets and to see if they work for you. In an age where lots of conflicting information can be found on the internet, it may be difficult to choose one that suits you and to self-evaluate the effectiveness of nutritional changes.

The success of diets is the slow incorporation of changes, so that they become habit and ultimately, they are the instinctive choice.

 

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