Brand-new study reveals the best diet for when you've got type 2 diabetes

Brand-new study reveals the best diet for when you've got type 2 diabetes

Although you've probably got a whole host of things to worry about when looking at your plate and deciding what to add and what to take off, diabetes makes the challenge of eating healthily that little bit more pressing. It's not a great disease to have, not one bit: and if you're living with the disease, you're one of four million people in the United Kingdom alone.

If you've been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, then you know how terrible it can be to pick yourself up and adapt to a new diet. Sugary foods are, of course, out of the question: but rather than looking at what they should avoid, how should a person living with type 2 diabetes actually eat?

It wasn't really a question we knew the answer to, but a new study from the University of South Australia wanted to look in more detail as to the best diet to maintain weight and blood glucose levels while living with type 2 diabetes. Between April 2015 and September 2017, PhD student Sharayah Carter conducted a year-long clinical trial with 137 people who had been diagnosed with the disease.

These trial subjects were split into two groups: one would consume between 1,200 and 1,500 calories a day for the 12-month period, while the other half would undertake what's known as the 5:2 diet; where dieters eat normally for five days a week, before undergoing two non-consecutive days of extreme calorie restriction at around 25 percent of their usual intake (500 calories for women, 600 for men).

This study is the first-ever long term trial comparing the diets of people who've been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and the results showed that the 5:2 diet resulted in not only improved weight loss, but the glucose control for these test subjects was also much better than those who had simply lived on a restricted diet.

"The continuous energy restriction group found weight loss maintenance more difficult because, if they were not following the diet on a daily basis, they would regain weight owing to increased energy intake."

It's a big discovery, but in her findings, Carter was quick to mention that these results were largely geared toward those living with diabetes that were controlling their blood sugar with their food intake. For those who depended largely on insulin shots, blood glucose levels need to be monitored and doses changed accordingly.

“It is the 21st century’s health epidemic and the biggest challenge confronting Australia’s health system,” says Carter's supervisor, Professor of Nutrition Peter Clifton. “Conventional weight-loss diets with daily energy restrictions are difficult for people to adhere to so we must look for alternative solutions," he added, noting that healthcare costs relating to diabetes have risen, setting back the United States about $673 billion each year.

Living with type 2 diabetes can't be easy, but hopefully with this study's results in the back of your mind, it might be worth trying out a 5:2 diet, to see if you notice a difference.