Scientists from The University of Texas at Austin found that having low diet quality is linked to worse health in people with type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how your body processes glucose (sugar), which is the primary source of energy for your body’s cells.
In type 2 diabetes, your body either resists the effects of insulin (a hormone that regulates the movement of glucose into your cells) or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain normal glucose levels in the blood.
Over time, high blood sugar levels can cause a range of health problems, including damage to your nerves, kidneys, eyes, and cardiovascular system.
Type 2 diabetes is often associated with lifestyle factors such as being overweight, not getting enough exercise, and having a diet that is high in processed foods and added sugars.
Maintaining a healthy diet is important for people with diabetes.
In this study, researchers wanted to see how a person’s diet quality, as measured by the Healthy Eating Index-2015 (HEI-2015), affected their health markers and risk factors for diabetes.
They used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2011-2016.
The researchers analyzed the diet quality of 2,220 adults with type 2 diabetes.
They looked at four health markers: (1) high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), (2) being overweight or obese, (3) high cholesterol and triglycerides (dyslipidemia), and (4) high blood pressure (hypertension).
The team also looked at how many of these risk factors the patients had.
The researchers found that people who had low diet quality, meaning they were in the lowest quartile of the HEI-2015, had a higher risk of being overweight or obese and having high blood sugar.
They found people in the bottom two quartiles also had a higher chance of having high cholesterol and triglycerides.
In addition, those in the lowest quartile had a much higher chance of having two or more of these risk factors.
Based on the findings, the researchers suggest that poor diet quality can lead to a worse prognosis for people with diabetes.
By contrast, having a healthier diet may help manage diabetes and reduce the risk of related health issues.
The research was published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics and conducted by Namrata Sanjeevi et al.
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