Exploring targeted nutritional interventions to prevent diabetes
Dr Nicola Guess will investigate the benefits of targeted treatment for different groups of people at high risk of Type 2 diabetes. She will use the dietary carbohydrate ‘inulin’ to try and improve glucose and insulin levels in people unlikely to benefit from changes to diet and physical activity levels.
Background to research
Effective ways to prevent Type 2 diabetes in people who are at high risk is essential for helping to slow the worldwide growth of the condition. Losing weight and increasing physical activity levels can help to prevent most cases of Type 2 diabetes. However, studies show that these approaches are unlikely to work for up to one third of people who are at high risk. With support from Diabetes UK, Dr Nicola Guess has discovered that a carbohydrate called ‘inulin’ (which is commonly found in some breakfast cereals) can help to reduce resistance to insulin around the body and improve the release of insulin from the pancreas. She believes that inulin might be able to help people at risk of Type 2 diabetes who don’t benefit from diet and exercise.
With support from Diabetes UK, Dr Guess will investigate the benefits of a 6-week low-calorie diet with and without 30g of added inulin in different groups of people who are at high risk of Type 2 diabetes. Those who take part will aim to lose 5-7% of their body weight and will have their blood glucose and insulin levels checked before, during and after the trial. At the end of the trial the glucose and insulin levels and the amount of weight lost by the different groups with and without inulin will be compared.
Potential benefit to people with diabetes
This study should help us to unpick the differences between different groups of people at high risk of Type 2 diabetes. It will also reveal whether targeted treatments for these groups – and treatment with inulin specifically – might be a more effective way of preventing Type 2 diabetes in certain high risk individuals. As inulin is already widely available, if the study is successful its findings could be immediately translated into benefits for people at risk of Type 2 diabetes.