New dietary advice to prevent type 2 diabetes

Eat more cheese, apples and yoghurt and cut down on red meat and potatoes to prevent diabetes, new health guidelines say.

Eat more cheese, apples and yoghurt and cut down on red meat and potatoes to prevent diabetes, new health guidelines say.

Doctors have published a list of foods they recommend to help stop people developing type 2 diabetes.

It is the first time health guidelines issued by charity Diabetes UK have specified which foods could help fight off the disease, which is linked to obesity.

Previously, people at high risk of developing diabetes were given advice like ‘increase your fibre intake by 15 per cent’ or to ‘lose 5 per cent of your body weight’.

But doctors have updated this guidance, saying it does not relate to how people live their lives.

Dr Pamela Dyson, a research dietitian at Oxford University and co-chairman of team behind the new guidelines, said: ‘We’ve made these dietary guidelines in terms of food and not nutrients... because food is what people eat, they don’t eat ‘nutrients’.

‘And it’s a message that’s far easier to communicate with people when you’re talking about foods they actually eat.’

Details of the new dietary advice were announced at the Diabetes UK Professional Conference in London this week.

To prevent diabetes, people are advised to eat more wholegrains and fruit and vegetables - particularly apples, grapes, blueberries and green leafy vegetables.

The guidelines also recommend eating dairy products, particularly yoghurt and cheese, and having regular cups of tea or coffee.

Diets should be low in red and processed meat, sugary drinks, potatoes - especially chips - and refined carbohydrates like white bread and white rice.

It is also recommended people at high risk of developing diabetes lose weight and increase their daily physical activity and exercise levels.

The guidelines, based on evidence from more than 500 scientific studies, were put together by a team led by researchers from Oxford University and Diabetes UK.

But experts warned the recommended foods would not be a ‘silver bullet’ to prevent diabetes.

Guidance co-author Dr Duane Mellor, of Coventry University, said: ‘Even after going through all the evidence, we cannot find one single best way. There’s not one diet which solves the problem.

‘There are a variety of options that work for different people, and some people will find one approach more effective than the other.

‘Even when you look at genetics it’s still unclear, we’re still not sure how to pick the right diet for the right person.

‘It’s about working with people’s preferences and helping support them to go through the changes to find the food that works for them.’

Doctors said while evidence suggests certain diets - like the Mediterranean diet - can help prevent the disease, clearer information needs to be provided to the public about how to follow them.

Dr Mellor added: ‘I struggle sometimes when talking about the Mediterranean diet, because what does that mean? The Mediterranean is not just one country.

‘The diet is based on a Cretan diet from the 1950s, not necessarily what people eat when they go on holiday to Italy or Spain today.’

Diabetes UK’s nutrition guidelines were first launched in 1982 and have previously been updated three times, most recently in 2011.

Douglas Twenefour, of Diabetes UK, said: ‘There is not a one-size-fits all approach when it comes to making food choices, so these new guidelines take this into account.

‘It is important that people with diabetes, and those at risk, are supported to choose the right foods for them to help them to achieve their specific treatment goals and improve their health and quality of life.’

Agencies

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