No Evidence that Diet Prevents Diabetes?

A team of researchers from The Cochrane Collaboration, an independent international not-for-profit healthcare information organization, claim that dietary intervention alone cannot prevent type-2 diabetes. Jennifer Beal of EurekAlert reports:
When a team of Cochrane Researchers set out to see if dietary advice alone could help a person with type 2 diabetes, they were only able to identify two trials that together involved just 358 people.

"Considering the importance of this disorder, we were disappointed to find such a small amount of relevant data," says lead researcher Lucie Nield, who works in Centre for Food, Physical Activity & Obesity, University of Teesside, Middlesbrough.

The two studies did, however, indicate that dietary advice alone could play an important role. One study randomly assigned people to either a control group or a dietary advice group. After six years 67.7% of people in the control group had diabetes, compared with only 43.8% in the advice group. This was a 33% reduction. In another study 12 months of dietary advice led to significant reductions in many diabetes related factors, such as insulin resistance, fasting C-peptide, fasting proinsulin, fasting blood glucose, fasting triglycerides, and fasting cholesterol and PAI-1.
This blurs reality. It implies that lifestyle diseases, like diabetes, are unavoidable. So why don’t I have diabetes, or Dr. Fuhrman, or his patients? Eating a nutrient-dense vegetable-based diet is your best defense against—and a treatment for—type-2 diabetes. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Increasing your consumption of high-nutrient fruits and vegetables is the key to disease resistance, disease reversal, and a long, healthy life. The potential reduction in disease rates shows no threshold effect in the scientific studies. That means that as high-nutrient vegetables and high-nutrient fruits increase as a major portion of caloric intake, disease rates fall in a dose-dependent manner—the more the diet is comprised of these foods, the better your health will be1…

…If the person is obese, with more than fifty pounds of additional fat weight, his body will demand huge loads of insulin from the pancreas, even as much as ten times more than a person of normal weight needs. So what do you think happens after five to ten years of forcing the pancreas to work so hard? You guessed it—pancreatic poop-out…

…Diets high in fiber and vegetables have been consistently shown to be beneficial for diabetic patients and offer considerably better results when compared to the current recommendations of the American Diabetic Association Diet.2 The dietary advice typically offered to diabetics is not science-based, and it caters to Americans’ social and food preferences and food addictions.
Okay, maybe there aren’t enough studies illustrating this—probably because no drug company would fund it—but to say there is “no evidence” that diet staves off type-2 diabetes is naive and irresponsible reporting—don’t you think?
1. Bazzano LA; He J; Ogden LG; et al. “Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of cardiovascular disease in US adults: the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Epidemiologic Follow-up Study.” Am J Clin Nutr 2002;76(1):93-9.

2. Barnard ND, Cohen J, Jenkins DJ, et al. A low-fat vegan diet improves glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in a randomized clinical trial in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2006;29(8):1777-1783.

Ford ES, Mokdad AH. Fruit and vegetable consumption and diabetes mellitus incidence among U.S. adults. Prev Med 2001;32(1):33-39.

Montonen J, Knekt P, Harkanen T, et al. Dietary patterns and the incidence of Type 2 Diabetes. Am J Epidem 2004;161(3):219-227.
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Comments (4) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Joe - July 17, 2008 10:15 AM

And if you get depressed by this news, we've got plenty of antidepressants to add to you regime of diabetes drugs.

Study Shows:
Take more drugs, it's inevitable!

This, along with the bogus Atkins v Low fat study make me sad.

Gerry Pugliese - July 17, 2008 10:22 AM

Hey Joe-

Check out Tara Parker-Pope's coverage on the silly Atkins study. She handles it really well:


Foodaroo - July 17, 2008 10:39 AM

That's hog wash. We make glucose from the foods we eat. Glucose comes from the small intestine after digestion.

The Atkin v. Low fat study originated from this Stanford researcher.

LolaBloom - July 17, 2008 4:26 PM

Whoa, irresponsible is an understatement. It just goes to show you though that really any study could involve only a particular set of variables that then creates a skewed sense of reality and could in fact be completely false when you consider it in the big picture.

It also only mentions if "dietary advice" alone could help a person.... well, obviously no... one would actually have to put into practice said advice, no?

Irresponsible study, irresponsible reporting equally.

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