Keep diabetes at bay by improving your diet, say experts

Eat more whole grains, fruits & veggies; avoid saturated fat & sweetened beverages


Washington: Improving the overall quality of one’s diet helps to prevent Type 2 Diabetes, says a new study.


Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that those who improved their diet quality index scores by 10 per cent over four years – by eating more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and less sweetened beverages and saturated fats, for example – reduced their risk for Type 2 Diabetes by about 20 per cent, compared to those who made no changes to their diets. Dietary quality was measured using the 110-point Alternate Healthy Eating Index 2010.


The study also examined whether improved diet was a marker of other lifestyle changes, such as weight loss or increased physical activity, or if it could independently reduce a person’s risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes. “We found that diet was indeed associated with Diabetes independent of weight loss and increased physical activity,” says lead researcher Sylvia Ley, Ph.D, a post-doctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health.


“If you improve other lifestyle factors you reduce your risk for Type 2 Diabetes even more, but improving diet quality alone has significant benefits. This is important because it is often difficult for people to maintain a calorie-restricted diet for a long time. We want them to know if they can improve the overall quality of what they eat – consume less red meat and sugar-sweetened beverages, and more fruits, vegetables and whole grains – they are going to improve their health and reduce their risk for diabetes,” she said.


The study also showed that it didn’t matter how good or poor a person’s diet was when they started out, she said. The study was presented at the American Diabetes Association’s 74th scientific session.




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