Research Associate (dietitian) / Diabetes Specialist Dietitian at Newcastle University/Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Alison Barnes is an experienced diabetes and weight management dietitian.
She is the research dietitian for the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT) at Newcastle University and holds an honorary contract as a diabetes specialist dietitian with Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Alison also has a patient perspective on diabetes care, having lived with Type 1 diabetes since the age of 8.
Her experience to date has demonstrated the central role that diet and weight management can play in managing and even reversing Type 2 diabetes (T2DM), but she recognises that knowing ‘what to eat’ is often a source of confusion for people living with the condition, and sometimes for the healthcare professionals who manage their care.
There are lots of mixed messages on the internet and in the media all claiming to be the ‘best approach’, but in reality there are a number of different evidence-based dietary approaches which can be of benefit, each with its own pros and cons.
Alison’s main goal as a Clinical Champion is to develop a dietary decision aid to provide a clear overview of each approach, along with an outline of potential benefits and any associated risks or concerns.
She hopes that this will promote better informed discussions about diet between people with T2DM and their diabetes teams. She also hopes to empower more individuals to make use of effective dietary changes to manage their diabetes rather than relying on ever increasing amounts of prescribed medications.
Alison has also been involved in a local audit which revealed a lack of routine discussions about the importance of pregnancy planning for women of childbearing age who have diabetes. She feels it is vital for women to understand the implications of becoming pregnant with diabetes, and will also be working to raise awareness of the need for such discussions during her time as a Clinical Champion.