Diabetes Prevention (Type 2 Diabetes)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Is there a diabetes prevention diet?

Diet becomes a critical issue when dealing with disease processes. When exploring dietary factors as a contributor to disease processes, one must take a number of things into account, for example, is it the specific food itself or the weight gain associated with its consumption that causes the risk? Is it the food, or the age/lifestyle of those consuming it that causes the risk? While cinnamon, coffee, and fenugreek seeds are among the many food products that some feel are associated with development/prevention of diabetes, none of these have truly been fully scientifically evaluated.

Rather than following a specific diabetes prevention diet, the greatest impact in prevention has occurred with weight reduction. Consequently, there is no single recommended diabetes prevention diet. The American Diabetes Association recommends goals of modest weight loss (5%-10% of body weight) and moderate exercise as primary interventions for preventing type 2 diabetes.

A "Western" diet vs. a "healthy" diet

In a study of over 42,000 men, diets high in red meat, processed meat, high fat dairy products, and sweets were associated with an increased risk of diabetes by almost two times that of those eating a "healthy" diet without high levels of these foods. Again, this is independent of weight gain and other factors mentioned previously.

Dairy foods

The data on dairy products seems to vary. In a study of over 289,000 health professionals, Harvard researchers showed that consumption of yogurt, in contrast to other dairy products, was associated with a reduced risk for diabetes. In a pooled analysis of 17 studies about dairy products and diabetes risk, those who consumed more dairy products had a lower risk than those who consumed few dairy products, A Swedish study found that high-fat dairy products, but not low-fat dairy products, lowered the risk for type 2 diabetes.

Sugar

Sugar consumption alone has not been associated with the development of type 2 diabetes. There is of course, weight gain associated with sugar consumption. However, after adjusting for weight gain and other variables, there appears to be a relationship between drinking sugar-laden beverages and the development of type 2 diabetes. Women who drink one or more of these drinks a day have almost twice the risk of developing diabetes than women who drink one a month or less.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/14/2016

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