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Monday, April 1, 2024

The Importance of Good Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyle in Managing Diabetes

The number of persons who has diabetes has grown to an alarming rate especially in Southeast Asia. It has jumped from 17 million in 1980 to 96 million in 2014. (source:

With this in mind, good nutrition and lifestyle plays an important role in reversing or managing type 2 diabetes. 

Managing type 2 diabetes is not really hard especially if those who suffer from it take the time to learn and implement good nutrition and lifestyle changes, that includes regular exercise and medication adjustments. Consulting a medical practitioner or a dietician is also helpful so that you will be given a proper guide on how to go about it. Research has also showed that certain interventions such as a very-low calorie diet can help in the remission of type 2 diabetes in some individuals.

"We have seen encouraging results when individuals with type 2 diabetes participate in a multifaceted weight management program," said Dr. Osama Hamdy, MD, PhD, Joslin Diabetes Center Medical Director, Obesity Clinical Program and Director of Inpatient Diabetes Program. "Following a very low-calorie diet and time-restricted fasting for 16 hours helps individuals with type 2 diabetes lose weight, which ultimately can induce diabetes remission." 

Dr. Hamdy presented the Diabetes Remission Outcome Protocol (DROP), which used this nutrition intervention for 12 weeks- combined with strength training- followed by 9 months of a low-calorie diet and exercise. Individuals with diabetes for less than five years had remission from diabetes. 

In one study, one year after individuals followed a very low-calorie diet as part of a weight management intervention, almost half were in remission of type 2 diabetes. At 2 years, nearly 1 in 3 remained in remission. Because of this emerging data, very low-calorie diets using meal replacements, including diabetes-specific nutrition formulas, are recommended by diabetes medical societies like Diabetes Canada. 

While very low-calorie diets may work for some individuals, others with diabetes may benefit from personalized medical nutrition therapy to manage their condition. 

"Speaking with a healthcare professional can help individuals develop a nutrition plan that is customized to their needs and lifestyle; but nutrition recommendations can be hard to customize to specific cultures or lifestyles," said Jose Rodolfo Dimaano, Jr. MD, MD, Area Medical Director for Pacific Asia at Abbott. "For this reason, Abbott and an international group of experts developed the transcultural Diabetes Nutrition Algorithm (tDNA)- a global diabetes nutrition care model that translates nutrition recommendations based on cultural differences in diets and lifestyle to improve diabetes management and outcomes."

Local experts have started to adapt tDNA in many regions and countries around the world. A clinical trial in Malaysia studied the effect of implementing tDNA in the country and found that a lifestyle intervention program using tDNA helped adults with type 2 diabetes improve their diabetes control and body weight.

Nutritional tools, like tDNA, and advancing research, like studies looking at the potential impact of weight management programs that incorporate lifestyle modifications like low-calorie/low-carbohydrates diets, can empower healthcare professionals and individuals with type 2 diabetes to successfully manage their condition. 


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