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Diet advice for people with diabetes

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An article published in the Daily Mail challenged Diabetes An article published in the Daily Mail challenged Diabetes UK’s inclusion ofUK’s inclusion ofcarbohydrates in the healthy balanced diet it recommends. Here our clinical advisor, Douglas Twenefour, explains the reasons behind the dietary advice we provide.

"The Good Health article, ‘Are diabetics being given diet advice that just makes their problems worse?’ (September 8, 2015) references experts being puzzled as to why Diabetes UK includes carbohydrates in the healthy balanced diet it recommends, when Type 2 diabetes is related to an intolerance to metabolise carbohydrates."The charity aims to support as many people, with all types of diabetes, as it can. As such we give advice based on evidence that is widely accepted as being effective and safe long-term. A lot of research shows that a diet low in saturated fat, salt and sugar is beneficial to health.

"Most research around diets for people with diabetes is based on studies with people who are trying to lose weight, this is mostly people with Type 2 diabetes. 

"For people with Type 2 diabetes who need to lose weight, there is evidence low-carbohydrate and very low-calorie diets can be an effective and control blood glucose. But we also believe, for many people a healthcare professional should be involved for these diets to be followed safely.

"That’s why we discuss these diets with healthcare professionals to enable them to support people with diabetes.For long-term health, we recommend people with diabetes look at their overall diet rather than focus on any single nutrient, like carbohydrates, alone. Carbohydrates have an immediate effect on your blood glucose levels, but beyond keeping these under control, blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels must be managed to reduce risk of complications that can arise when diabetes is poorly managed, such as heart disease.

"If you’d like to try a diet pattern such as the low-carbohydrate diet, we strongly advise you speak to your healthcare team as this may require support to adjust diabetes medication and will need more frequent blood glucose testing."

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