Poor diet responsible for majority of new type 2 diabetes cases globally

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A study conducted by researchers from Tufts University has found that poor diet is responsible for over 70% of new cases of type 2 diabetes worldwide in 2018.

The research identified insufficient intake of whole grains, excess consumption of refined rice and wheat, and overconsumption of processed meat as the leading dietary factors contributing to the increasing global incidence of type 2 diabetes.

The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, focused on 11 dietary factors and utilized data from the Global Dietary Database, population demographics, global type 2 diabetes incidence estimates, and published papers on the impact of food choices on obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The research team discovered that poor diet accounted for a larger proportion of type 2 diabetes incidence in men, younger adults, and urban residents globally.

Regions with the highest number of type 2 diabetes cases attributed to poor diet were Central and Eastern Europe, particularly in Poland and Russia, where diets were rich in red and processed meat, and potatoes.

Latin America and the Caribbean, especially Colombia and Mexico, also had high incidence rates due to high consumption of sugary drinks, processed meat, and low intake of whole grains.

Conversely, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa had a lesser impact on type 2 diabetes cases linked to diet, but Sub-Saharan Africa experienced the largest increase in cases between 1990 and 2018.

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes with Diet

Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or managed through healthy dietary choices. Here are some strategies:

Choose whole foods: Opt for fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, which are nutrient-rich, high in fiber, and lower in calories compared to processed foods.

Limit refined grains and sugar: Reduce consumption of white bread, white rice, pasta, and added sugar found in processed foods and drinks to avoid blood sugar spikes.

Choose healthy fats: Incorporate healthy fats from sources like nuts, seeds, avocado, and fatty fish to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation.

Watch portion sizes: Maintain portion control to prevent excessive calorie intake and weight gain, which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Limit processed and red meats: Reduce consumption of processed meats such as bacon and hot dogs, as well as red meats like beef and pork, which are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to regulate blood sugar levels and prevent dehydration, which can contribute to high blood sugar levels.

The study highlights the significant role of poor diet in the global incidence of type 2 diabetes.

Insufficient intake of whole grains, excessive consumption of refined rice and wheat, and overconsumption of processed meat were identified as major contributing factors.

By adopting a diet rich in whole foods, limiting refined grains and sugar, incorporating healthy fats, practicing portion control, and staying hydrated, individuals can prevent and manage type 2 diabetes.

Consulting with healthcare professionals or registered dietitians can help develop personalized dietary plans to meet individual needs and goals.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies that eating more eggs is linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, and how to eat to reduce heart disease death risk if you have diabetes.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about high-protein diets linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, and results showing Mediterranean diet could help reduce the diabetes risk by one-third.

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