Many people ignore advice about making healthy food choices to help avoid major long-term conditions. Such advice is especially important for people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, for whom eating healthily helps control blood glucose and avoid or delay serious complications. However, this review reveals that even people with type 2 diabetes are failing to follow dietary recommendations. They’re not eating enough fruit, vegetables, dairy products and grains.
The authors identified 11 studies that looked at the dietary intake of adults with type 2 diabetes using the 5 main food groups (fruit, vegetables, dairy, grains and meat/meat alternatives). They compared the findings with dietary guidelines to see if the recommendations are being followed. Finding out what people with type 2 diabetes are actually eating can help with the design of dietary educational materials and identify people who need extra support in changing their diet, say the authors.
The findings of this review appear to reflect the food group intake of the general population and initiatives are needed to improve diet quality for everyone, say the authors.
A healthy diet contains all five main food groups
Studies have shown that low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, low-glycaemic-index and high-protein diets help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood glucose. Although these diets differ from one another, they all encourage consumption of unprocessed foods from the 5 main food groups.
What are people with type 2 diabetes eating?
This review found that most people in the studies were eating less than the recommended daily amounts of fruit, vegetables, dairy products and grains. Low consumption of fruit, vegetables and grains is worrying because dietary fibre found in these foods has a beneficial effect on blood glucose levels. Dairy products such as yogurt and cheese have also been associated with health benefits.
Although meat/meat alternatives are an important food group and provides valuable nutrients, guidelines limit the amount that should be eaten because high intakes are linked to conditions such as heart disease and cancer. The authors warn that most people in the studies were eating meat/meat alternatives in amounts that met or exceeded the recommended limit.
The authors conclude that people with type 2 to eat more fibre-rich foods and dairy products.
Do people improve their diet after diagnosis of type 2 diabetes?
The authors weren’t able to show whether people’s dietary habits improved in the months and years after diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Further research is needed to understand how food group intake changes over time after diagnosis.
Find out more: read the original article.