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New nutrition guidelines to help people with or at risk of diabetes


We have published new nutrition guidelines to help people with diabetes and those at risk of Type 2 diabetes to better manage their diet.

These evidence-based guidelines, reflect recent research advances and provide nutrition recommendations to better enable healthcare professionals in supporting adults with diabetes, and those at risk of Type 2 diabetes.

For the first time the guidelines - which were last updated in 2011 - outline how people with Type 2 diabetes might be able to achieve remission. This guidance has been added after the first year results of the Diabetes UK funded study called DiRECT, suggested that Type 2 diabetes remission can occur with significant weight loss.

The guidelines outline consistently strong evidence that suggests eating certain foods can help reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, can manage blood glucose levels in people with Type 2 diabetes, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes. These suggested foods include vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, fish, nuts and pulses. Eating less red and processed meat, refined carbohydrates and sugar sweetened beverages, is also recommended.

These recommended foods are usually associated with the Mediterranean-style diet, but can be adapted to take into account cultural and personal preferences. Previous recommendations had relied on more nutrients, but this food-based approach provides people at risk and with diabetes more flexibility.

The new guidelines are being presented at the Diabetes UK Professional Conference on Wednesday 14 March 2018.


Our Deputy Head of Care and co-chair of the guidelines group, Douglas Twenefour, said:

“There is not a one-size-fits all approach when it comes to making food choices, so these new guidelines take this into account. It is important that people with diabetes, and those at risk, are supported to choose the right foods for them to help them to achieve their specific treatment goals and improve their health and quality of life.”

We have been publishing dietary guidelines for thirty-five years, beginning in 1982, with updates and revisions issued at regular intervals in 1992, 2003 and with the most recent previous update in 2011.


Dr Pam Dyson, Research dietitian at Oxford University and co-chair of our guidelines group, said:

“These new guidelines support an individualised approach to managing both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. The recommendations are more specific about clinical outcomes, so we hope they will help all people with diabetes to better understand what they can do to manage their condition. For people with Type 2 diabetes, the potential to put their condition into remission is very exciting.”


Dr Dinesh Nagi, Consultant in Diabetes and Edocrinology at Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust, and Chairman of the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists, said:

“These updated guidelines provide a highly valuable resource for healthcare professionals who work in this field and I have no doubt, will enable them to provide an individualised nutritional plan to people with diabetes.

“These guidelines are also a timely reminder to all of us working in specialist and primary care, the importance of nutrition, both in prevention of Type 2 diabetes and in the day to day management of diabetes.”


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