Nutrition Review: Diet and Nutrients in the Prevention and Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes

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Lifestyle factors, including diet, are critical in the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes. Because weight gain increases diabetes risk, and even modest weight reduction reduces risk, weight management is paramount in lessening the occurrence and effects of diabetes. Weight loss interventions should include patient education, behavioral strategies, physical activity, energy intake deficits of 500 to 1000 kcal/day, and prevention of recidivism. Macronutrient distribution ranges of diets for diabetic patients follow those of the Dietary Reference Intakes, allowing for individualization according to a patient's metabolic responses, needs, and preferences. Nutrients to be limited include saturated fats, artificial trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium, whereas nutrients to be emphasized include monounsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, fibers, antioxidants, and minerals, including potassium, magnesium, calcium, and chromium. Food sources are advised rather than supplements. Sugars can be isocalorically substituted for starches without detriments to glycemic control. Diets with low glycemic index or load may have modest benefits in managing type 2 diabetes. If a diabetic patient chooses to consume alcohol, he or she should do so in moderation. Foods advocated in type 2 diabetes are similar to those that are also beneficial in reducing risk for other chronic diseases. © 2007, SAGE Publications. All rights reserved.

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American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine