In recent years, new research has shown that type 2 diabetes can be reversed with the help of weight loss and healthy eating habits. When the European Diabetes Association, EASD, now presents its new guidelines for diet in diabetes, it therefore also includes advice on how to increase the chance of getting rid of new-onset type 2 diabetes. A first step can be to lose weight with a low-calorie powder diet (so-called VLED diet).
– Research shows that in about one in three people with type 2 diabetes who lose weight quickly, and then keep the weight off, their blood sugar levels return to normal. The disease could be kept in check for at least two years even without medication. But that only applies to those who have had diabetes for a relatively short time, six years at most, says Ulf Risérus, who is professor of clinical nutrition and metabolism at Uppsala University.
He is one of several researchers from around ten countries in Europe who have drawn up the new guidelines. He is presenting them at EASD’s annual diabetes conference being held this week in Stockholm.
The researchers have gone through the scientific research that primarily concerns type 2 diabetes (age-onset diabetes). The new recommendations focus more on the type of fat and carbohydrates that are good for health, rather than the proportions of different nutrients.
– An exception is people over 65 whose diet is recommended to contain a little more protein, up to 20 percent, says Ulf Risérus.
The research shows that so-called low-carbohydrate or low-fat diets are equally effective in reducing both weight and risk factors in diabetes. But in the longer term, it’s about changing your eating pattern to counteract the risk of, for example, cardiovascular diseases.
The guidelines highlight three food patterns that can be part of the treatment for type 2 diabetes: Mediterranean diet, Nordic healthy diet and vegetarian diet.
The three patterns have several elements in common: they are rich in whole grains, dietary fiber, vegetables, legumes, nuts, fruit and unsaturated fats from the plant kingdom, but limited in added sugar and saturated fat. The Mediterranean diet and the Nordic diet contain fish, but only small amounts of red meat.
– Among other things, they help to keep weight down, improve blood lipids and normalize blood sugar levels, and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
According to the new guidelines, you should get at least 35 grams of dietary fiber every day. Whole grains from rye, oats or wheat should ideally be as little processed as possible, preferably in the form of whole grains.
The new Europeans the guidelines agree well with the research review of the impact of different diets on type 1 and type 2 diabetes that the National Committee for Medical and Social Evaluation, SBU, presented this spring. Among other things, they concluded that the Mediterranean diet, legumes and coffee reduce the risk of early death. There is also some support that a greater proportion of vegetable monounsaturated fat seems to reduce the risk.
SBU’s report serves as a basis when the National Board of Health and Welfare has to update its knowledge support in the treatment of diabetes in the healthcare system.
– Even the European guidelines will indirectly affect the care that the healthcare system offers to people with diabetes, says Ulf Risérus.