Practice Alert

Dietary recommendations for patients with diabetes

University of Arizona, Phoenix



Alcohol intake. And what about alcohol intake in those with T2DM? Once again, both guidelines are in concert by stating that alcohol use in those with diabetes should be moderate, defined by the ADA as one or fewer drinks/d for women and 2 or fewer for men.

Weight loss and exercise are important, too. Those who are overweight or obese with T2DM can improve glycemic control with a 5% weight loss achieved by reducing caloric intake and by increasing energy expenditure with 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week over at least 3 days.3 This recommendation is supported by high-quality evidence.

A 15-kg weight loss is recommended for those attempting diabetes remission (supported by moderate-level evidence).3 One small study in the United Kingdom found that more than half of those with T2DM could achieve remission with weight loss of 10 kg or more; 86% with weight loss of 15 kg or more.7 The Diabetes UK guideline panel rated this as having moderate-level evidence.

The bottom line. Diet and exercise are key interventions for the prevention and treatment of diabetes and can lead to remission if sufficient weight loss is achieved. To achieve and maintain an optimal diet, patients need individualized professional advice and followup. The evidence base for nutritional advice is growing and can be used to improve the quality of these patient-provider interactions.

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