TYPE 2 diabetes can be caused by lifestyle factors – such as being overweight. Now experts believe personalised diets may be the key to combating the diabetes crisis.
Tailoring food advice to individual patients with type 2 diabetes helps them shed up to seven times more weight and could stop the numbers of patients being diagnosed with the condition.
People with pre-diabetes – which means they have raised blood sugar and are close to developing the condition, should eat differently from those with the full blown illness.
A fibre rich diet including as much fruit, vegetables and wholegrains they want is very effective at reducing risk, say scientists.
Patients with diabetes will remain healthier by eating plant-based fats and olive oil to keep the weight off.
This can also be effective without restricting calories.
The team said no one solution will work for every patient – but adopting these techniques could be more effective.
Nearly four million people in the UK are living with type 2 diabetes, and it is believed there are thousands more living undiagnosed with the condition.
“Our research shows weight loss strategies should be customised based on an individual’s biomarkers, which is a big step forward in using personalised nutrition to help people achieve greater weight loss success,” said Professor Arne Astrup, of the University of Copenhagen.
“These findings are particularly important as they allow us to provide those with prediabetes a custom strategy to help them lose weight, which can ultimately prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes.”
The specific diets that work are different – based on whether a patient has normal blood sugar, prediabetes or is living with diabetes.
Experts held three trials involving more than 1,200 participants, and found that by analysing blood sugar levels and insulin after eating could help them select the best diet for individuals.
They can even help predict how much weight an individual with pre-diabetes, or diabetes, will lose.
Professor Astrup said: “Recognising fasting plasma glucose as a key biomarker enables a new interpretation of the data from many previous studies, which could potentially lead to a breakthrough in personalised nutrition.
“The beauty of this concept is its simplicity.
“While we are looking into other biomarkers, it is quite amazing how much more we can do for our patients just by using those two simple biomarkers.
“We will continue to participate in and support research to explore additional biomarkers such as gut microbiota and genomics approaches, which may offer more insights and help to more effectively customise the right diet for specific individuals.”