Cooking, self-management education, and intervention benefit people with diabetes

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Scientists from The Ohio State University found a cooking intervention that provided food—along with diabetes self-management education to encourage healthy eating and physical activity—would improve A1C hemoglobin levels and diabetes management.

This study showed that Cooking Matters for Diabetes may be an effective method of improving diet-related self-care and health-related quality of life, especially among individuals living with food insecurity.

In the study, 48 adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes completed the six-week Cooking Matters for Diabetes intervention.

Cooking Matters for Diabetes was adapted from Cooking Matters and the American Diabetes Association’s diabetes self-management education and support program into a 6-week intervention with weekly food provisions.

Cooking Matters is a program run by Share Our Strength, a nonprofit working to solve problems of hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world.

The weekly classes included cooking demonstrations along with lessons on diabetes and treatment options; healthy eating; physical activity; medication usage; monitoring and using patient-generated health data; preventing, detecting, and treating acute complications; healthy coping with psychosocial issues and concerns, and problem solving.

In addition, one class was devoted to an interactive visit to a grocery store.

The cooking portion provided education on food safety, knife techniques, nutrition facts and ingredients label reading, meal planning, budgeting, and shopping.

Each class, except the grocery store tour, involved participants cooking a meal in small groups. All participants then sat and shared the meal together, with the goal of participants building a sense of community.

The participants’ A1C was measured at baseline, post-intervention, and follow-up at 3 months.

A1C is an important predictor of who will have poor long-term outcomes in diabetes like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease (nephropathy), eye disease (retinopathy), and nerve disease (neuropathy).

The team found that study participants ate more vegetables and fewer carbohydrates.

They found changes in diabetes self-management activities and numerical lowering of A1C among food-insecure study participants.

This is important because food insecurity and a lack of access to nutritious food can make diabetes management and A1C control more difficult.

In 2018, 11.5% of U.S. households experienced some food insecurity throughout the year.

Several studies have identified a greater prevalence of food insecurity among those with type 2 diabetes compared to the national average.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies about how COVID-19 is linked to diabetes, and how to treat diabetes without meds.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies about how bitter melon could benefit people with diabetes, and results showing how to control diabetes apart from blood sugar levels.

The research was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and conducted by Amaris Williams et al.

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