Healthy diet lowers type 2 diabetes risk, regardless of genetics

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A new study from the University of Eastern Finland has found that following a healthy diet can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, even for those with a high genetic risk.

Published in the European Journal of Nutrition, the research shows that eating well can improve blood glucose levels and reduce the chances of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is heavily influenced by genetics, but lifestyle choices like diet and exercise can prevent or delay its onset.

“We didn’t know if a healthy diet benefits everyone equally, regardless of their genetic risk,” said Doctoral Researcher Ulla Tolonen from the University of Eastern Finland.

The study analyzed over 1,500 middle-aged and elderly men from the broader Metabolic Syndrome in Men Study (METSIM).

Researchers used a food frequency questionnaire to assess food consumption and a two-hour glucose tolerance test to measure blood glucose levels. Participants’ genetic risk of type 2 diabetes was scored based on 76 genetic variants associated with the disease.

Two dietary patterns were identified based on the participants’ food consumption. The “healthy” dietary pattern included vegetables, berries, fruits, vegetable oils, fish, poultry, potatoes, unsweetened and low-fat yogurt, low-fat cheese, and whole grain products like porridge, pasta, and rice. This diet was linked to lower blood glucose levels and a reduced risk of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Importantly, the study found that the benefits of a healthy diet applied to individuals with both low and high genetic risks of type 2 diabetes. “Our findings suggest that a healthy diet seems to benefit everyone, regardless of their genetic risk,” Tolonen concluded.

In summary, the study highlights that eating a healthy diet can help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes for everyone, even those with a high genetic predisposition. This emphasizes the importance of following nutrition recommendations to maintain good health and prevent diabetes.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies about high vitamin D level linked to lower dementia risk in diabetes, and this eating habit could help reduce risk of type 2 diabetes.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about unhealthy plant-based diets linked to metabolic syndrome, and results showing Paleo diet plus exercise could boost heart health in people with diabetes