Controlling type 2 diabetes

August 31, 2009 3:29:33 PM PDT
Nearly one million Americans will be diagnosed over the next year with type 2 diabetes, and that includes children. Diet is one way to control the disease and now a new study shows there is one diet in particular the works very well. The researchers studied two groups of people who had just been told they had type 2 diabetes and all of them then agreed to change their eating habits.

Half of the participants were put on a low-fat diet, the other half on a Mediterranean type diet. After four years, the researchers compared the two groups, and they found the second diet, the Mediterranean diet, was more effective in keeping the participant's blood sugar levels under control.

"The study found only 44 percent of patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes needed medication after four years on the Mediterranean diet compared to 70 percent of patients who were on the low fat diet," said Dr. Christine Laine with the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Most doctors recommend diet and exercise as the first solution to control type 2 diabetes. But if that fails, then patients have to use medications to control their blood sugars.

"If you have a motivated patient who's able to make changes, they can avoid the need for medication all together," said Dr. Laine.

Dietician Lisa Jones often helps newly diagnosed patients learn about the Mediterranean diet.

"The Mediterranean diet avoids anything that's processed so any type of processed food, should not be consumed on the Mediterranean diet," said Lisa Jones.

But she says you can still have lots of good things like fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains and fish.

"You're taking only one thing away, and that's the processed foods," said Lisa Jones.


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