In terms of diabetes management, weight loss is the most consistent nutrition-related determinant of positive outcomes and should be considered a primary strategy. Traditionally, the diet recommended for weight loss is the healthy eating approach – a plant-based diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables and wholegrain and which is reduced in fat (especially saturated fat), sugar and salt.
There is emerging evidence that other strategies, including low carbohydrate diets, Mediterranean diets, meal replacements and very low calories diets are as effective as healthy eating. In addition, behavioural strategies improve outcomes and there appears to be a growing need for more flexibility in the approaches used for giving dietary advice.
Dr Pamela Dyson has been involved with the nutritional management of diabetes and obesity for over 30 years. She began her career with the MRC in Cambridge and was then appointed as a diabetes specialist dietician in the NHS. Since 2003, she has been employed by the University of Oxford as a research dietician and successfully completed her PhD. Her main interests are dietary education, behavioural aspects of lifestyle change, eating disorders and weight management. She was part of the Diabetes UK Nutrition Working Group responsible for publishing the revised nutrition guidelines for the prevention and treatment of diabetes in 2011.
1) Ajala et al. (2013) Systematic review and meta-analysis of different dietary approaches to the management of type 2 diabetes.
2) Feinman et al. (2014) Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management: Critical review and evidence base.
3) Koloverou et al. (2014) The effect of Mediterranean diet on the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis of 10 prospective studies and 136,846 participants.