Diabetic diet advice may help newly diagnosed patients with type 2 diabetes achieve better control of blood sugar levels

Some people are their own worst enemy when it comes to diabetes management. Individuals with type 2 diabetes can stray from their diabetic diet and think that their physician will be none the wiser by the time they are due for their regular HbA1c test.

However, these blood sugar screenings measure a patient's average blood glucose levels over the previous three months, so even small missteps may be accounted for.

Since healthcare providers cannot live with their patients to ensure that they comply with their diabetic diet, it may be useful for people who have recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes to receive extra counseling on their eating regimen.

According to a study published in the journal The Lancet, as little as 6.5 hours of diet advice, in addition to standard care for type 2 diabetes, may help newly diagnosed patients achieve better HbA1c readings.

The research, which involved nearly 600 type 2 diabetics, indicated that individuals who received standard care after their diagnosis had higher blood glucose levels at a six-month evaluation, compared to their measurements at the onset of the study. By one year, these levels had dropped slightly but were still above baseline readings.

However, participants who received 6.5 hours of advice on a proper diabetic diet were found to have gradually decreasing HbA1c scores.

The researchers noted that subjects who received dietary counseling and an exercise regimen experienced the same benefits as those in the eating advice group, on average.

"There is little doubt that improved nutrition and physical activity are beneficial for individuals with or without diabetes, and research into the most effective way to deliver these benefits deserves high priority," said Dr Frank B. Hu from the Harvard School of Public Health, quoted by Medical News Today.

Individuals who have recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are often referred to a nutritionist who can help them design a healthy diabetic diet to avoid spikes or sudden decreases in blood sugar levels.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that diabetics eat their meals and snacks at regular times each day to help them predict when they will need to take doses of insulin or other diabetes medications.