Poor diet linked to 14 million cases of type 2 diabetes in 184 countries

Credit: he Lazy Artist Gallery / Pexels

Researchers from Tufts University have developed a model that estimates poor diet to be responsible for over 14.1 million cases of type 2 diabetes globally in 2018, which accounts for over 70% of new diagnoses.

The research focused on 11 dietary factors, and found that insufficient intake of whole grains, excesses of refined rice and wheat, and the overconsumption of processed meat were the three leading factors contributing to the rising global incidence of type 2 diabetes.

The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, also showed that drinking too much fruit juice and not eating enough non-starchy vegetables, nuts, or seeds had less of an impact on new cases of the disease.

The research team used data from the Global Dietary Database, population demographics from multiple sources, global type 2 diabetes incidence estimates, and data on how food choices impact people living with obesity and type 2 diabetes from multiple published papers.

They discovered that poor diet was causing a larger proportion of total type 2 diabetes incidence in men versus women, younger versus older adults, and in urban versus rural residents at the global level.

Regions that had the greatest number of type 2 diabetes cases linked to diet were Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, particularly in Poland and Russia, where diets tend to be rich in red meat, processed meat, and potatoes.

Incidence was also high in Latin America and the Caribbean, especially in Colombia and Mexico, which was credited to high consumption of sugary drinks, processed meat, and low intake of whole grains.

On the other hand, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa had less of an impact on type 2 diabetes cases linked to diet.

Although the largest increases in type 2 diabetes due to poor diet between 1990 and 2018 were observed in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The research team suggests that their findings can help inform nutritional priorities for clinicians, policymakers, and private sector actors as they encourage healthier dietary choices that address this global epidemic.

How to prevent type 2 diabetes with diet

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the body is not able to use insulin effectively, leading to high blood sugar levels.

Poor diet is a major contributor to the development of type 2 diabetes. However, making healthy dietary choices can help to prevent and manage the condition.

Here are some dietary strategies to prevent or manage type 2 diabetes:

Choose whole foods: Whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

They are also lower in calories and provide long-lasting energy compared to processed foods. Including more whole foods in your diet can help to prevent and manage type 2 diabetes.

Limit refined grains and sugar: Refined grains, such as white bread, white rice, and pasta, are stripped of their nutrients and fiber, leading to a rapid increase in blood sugar levels.

Added sugar in processed foods and drinks can also cause blood sugar spikes. Limiting the consumption of these foods can help to prevent and manage type 2 diabetes.

Choose healthy fats: Healthy fats, such as those found in nuts, seeds, avocado, and fatty fish, can help to improve insulin sensitivity and lower inflammation in the body.

Including healthy fats in your diet can help to prevent and manage type 2 diabetes.

Watch portion sizes: Eating too much food, even healthy food, can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Watching portion sizes and eating until you feel satisfied rather than full can help to prevent and manage the condition.

Limit processed meat and red meat: Processed meat, such as bacon and hot dogs, and red meat, such as beef and pork, have been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Limiting the consumption of these foods can help to prevent and manage the condition.

Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help to regulate blood sugar levels and prevent dehydration, which can contribute to high blood sugar levels.

Making healthy dietary choices is important for preventing and managing type 2 diabetes. Talk to your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to create an individualized plan that meets your dietary needs and goals.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies that pomace olive oil could help lower blood cholesterol, and honey could help control blood sugar.

If you care about kidney health, please read studies about how to protect your kidneys from diabetes, and drinking coffee could help reduce risk of kidney injury.

The study was published in Nature Medicine.

Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.