The first advice given to those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes typically involves adopting a healthy and nutritious diet.
However, new research suggests that diet considerations should not stop at calorie and nutrient counting.
The degree to which food is processed may also significantly affect the health outcomes of individuals with this condition.
A recent study conducted by the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention at the I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed in Pozzilli, Italy, and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, investigated the impacts of ultra-processed food consumption on people with type 2 diabetes.
Ultra-processed foods often contain additives like colorings, preservatives, flavor enhancers, and sweeteners and undergo intensive processing.
They include not only fast-food and packaged snacks but also seemingly healthy options like breakfast cereals and some meat substitutes.
The researchers used data from the large Moli-sani Study and focused on 1,066 participants with type 2 diabetes at the beginning of the study in 2005-2010.
During an average follow-up period of 12 years, researchers found that a diet high in ultra-processed foods increased the risk of death among people with diabetes.
Participants who reported higher consumption of these foods had a 60% increased risk of dying from any cause and a more than doubled risk of mortality from cardiovascular diseases.
Interestingly, these increased risks were observed even among participants who reported good adherence to the Mediterranean Diet.
This finding suggests that the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet might be undermined if the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet is high.
The findings have critical implications for dietary guidelines for managing type 2 diabetes.
In addition to recommending a diet based on well-known nutritional requirements, dietary advice should also encourage minimizing the consumption of ultra-processed foods.
Giovanni de Gaetano, President of the IRCCS Neuromed of Pozzilli, added that food labels should include information on the degree of food processing to help individuals make more informed dietary choices.
This could apply not only to people with diabetes but also to the general public.
If you care about diabetes, please read studies that MIND diet may reduce the risk of vision loss disease, and Vitamin D could benefit people with diabetic neuropathic pain.
For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies that Vitamin E could help reduce blood sugar and insulin resistance in diabetes, and results showing eating eggs in a healthy diet may reduce risks of diabetes and high blood pressure.
The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
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