diet for weight loss

Weight loss is important for those at risk of diabetes, but which diet is best?  Researchers recently determined the most effective diet for weight loss in diabetes.

Diabetes is a worldwide problem and much research has been done on the prevention, management, and treatment of diabetes. Previous research has shown us that key factors to reversing the effects of diabetes in a patient is maintaining a healthy lifestyle by increasing exercise and controlling diet to decrease the need for insulin within the body. But which diet for weight loss is optimal for those who suffer from diabetes?

A clinical trial was conducted called The Diabetes Prevention Program. This program looked at all aspects of diabetes as it randomly assigned patients at risk of diabetes to a placebo, metformin (a drug commonly prescribed for diabetes), or intensive lifestyle intervention group. The lifestyle intervention group looked at the physical activity and the diet of the recruited diabetic patients.

Since diet in diabetic patients is known to have a crucial role in weight loss, the researchers aimed to find the connections between the different macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins, etc.) of diet and the effect they would have on the standard body physiology of a diabetic individual. To do this, researchers Sylvetsky and colleagues conducted a study that measured the impact of every macronutrient to the baseline weight of a diabetic participant and estimated the contribution that each macronutrient had in preventing the diabetic patient from losing weight. They recently published these results in The Journal of Nutrition.

The Diabetes Prevention program consisted of 3,234 participants including 2,924 who supplied the researchers with complete diet information. About 67 % of the participants were women and the mean age for all participants was approximately 50 years. The researchers assessed diet by using a food frequency questionnaire. After the data was collected, the researchers then compared the intakes of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and various other food groups to the increase in body weight.

The results showed that the initial weight of a diabetic patient was not affected by carbohydrate intake. Dietary fibre was found to have no harmful effects on the diabetic patient. Fats, however, showed the opposite results in the diabetic patients. The fats were shown to be positively associated with an increase in baseline weight. Weight loss after a year was correlated with an increase in carbohydrate intake, specifically carbohydrates that are high in dietary fibre, and decreases in total fat and saturated fat intake.

This research attests to the advantages brought about by the consumption of a high-carbohydrate, high-fibre, low-fat diet for diabetic patients that allows for weight loss to occur and the insulin levels within the body to decrease in these patients.

Written by Dr. Apollina Sharma, MBBS, GradDip EXMD

Reference: Sylvetsky, Allison C., et al. “A High-Carbohydrate, High-Fiber, Low-Fat Diet Results in Weight Loss among Adults at High Risk of Type 2 Diabetes.” The Journal of Nutrition (2017): jn252395.

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