According the World Health Organisation (WHO), 9% of adults suffer from Type II diabetes. In 2012, 1.5 million people died from the problem. Unless something changes, type II diabetes will become one of the leading causes of death in the World, by 2030.
A Type II diabetes diagnosis may mean patients have to cut down on the pies and stop having their cake and eating it.
But it is not a death sentence.
Unlike many other illnesses, patients are in a position where they can take a firm control of their treatment, and they have many options. Lifestyle changes and complementary medicines can be integrated into a treatment plan, and many patients will not need to be drug dependent for the rest of their lives.
A wake up call.
There is more good news - there has been a huge wake-up call, and health professionals, complementary medicine specialists, researchers and educators are all working hard to make sure as many options as possible are available. There are hundreds of new publications on type II diabetes each week. In 2014 over two and a half thousand new studies and research documents were published in peer reviewed medical journals. These covered everything from conventional drugs and exercise, to herbal remedies and camel’s milk.
Here we report on the latest research on diet, gut flora and new tests.
Change in diet is the number one action that patients can take, to manage their diabetes themselves. Many diets have shown benefits.
The Mediterranean diet consists of eating in the way that is traditional for countries such as spain, Italy south of France, Greece etc. These are the key points:
⇒ High consumption of peas, beans, pulses, fruits, wholegrain cereals, vegetables and nuts.
⇒ Very low consumption of red meat, moderate consumption of poultry, and higher consumption of fish.
⇒ Use of olive oil and rapeseed oil instead of butter or other animal fats.
⇒ Low intake of dairy products
⇒ Low salt
⇒ Snacks of fruit, dried fruit and nuts.
⇒ Limited alcohol consumption. A small glass of red wine with lunch and dinner shows the best benefits.
⇒ Drinking lots of water and limiting tea and coffee.
New evidence: A large study published this year, concluded that diabetes patients who followed a Mediterranean diet, had a reduced risk of death compared to those that did not follow the Mediterranean diet.
A vegetarian diet has long been associated with improved control of blood sugar. A review of all clinical studies of the effects of a vegetarian diet on diabetes was published in late 2014. The review concluded that there was substantial evidence that a vegetarian diet improved glycaemic control in patients with type II diabetes.
Low calorie diet
A study published in Feb this year investigated the effects of low calorie diets in two groups of people who suffered from type II diabetes. Group 1 had been diabetic for more than 8 years and group 2 had been diabetic for four years or less. Both groups followed a low calorie diet for 8 weeks and were monitored for blood pressure, sugar levels and lipid profiles. At the end of the 8 weeks, all patients had improved lipid profiles and blood pressure results. 50% of the long term diabetic patients (group 1) had normal sugar levels and 87% of the short term diabetics (group 2) after only 8 weeks of the diet.
Steven et al. Restoring normoglycaemia by use of a very low calorie diet in long-and short duration Type 2 diabetes. Diabet med. Feb 2015.
Improvement of the gut flora in patients is one of the most promising areas for treatment of type II diabetes. Two new studies published this month confirm that many non-drug treatments, such as diet or bariatric surgery, act by improving the balance of gut flora in type II diabetics.
A study published this month, investigated the effects of the Macrobiotic-Pi diet on the metabolism of Type II diabetics. Fasting blood glucose, glycosylated haemoglobin, the serum lipid profile, body mass index, body weight and blood pressure were assessed before the diet and after. The diet consisted of a macrobiotic diet that was rich in carbohydrates, whole grains and vegetables, with no animal fat or protein or added sugar. Results showed improvements across all of the assessed parameters. The team suggests that the diet may act through weight loss but also it may act by changing the gut microbiome.
Fallucca et al. Gut microbiota and Ma-Pi 2 macrobiotic diet in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. World J. diabetes. Apr 2015.
Bariatric surgery may also have the advantage of altering the microbiome. An article published this month in the World Journal of Diabetes discusses the theory that bariatric surgery acts with bile acids and the microbiome to bring about improved glucose control. Several experiments have been carried out over the past year that substantiate this theory.
Raghow R. Menage-a-trois of bariatric surgery, bile acid and the gut microbiome. World J diabetes Apr 2015.
Control of type II diabetes requires the patient to carry out regular tests on blood sugar levels. A research group have identified two proteins in the urine that show promise as biomarkers for glucose control. If further tests confirm that the urinary protein test can be used accurately, patients would be able to monitor their diabetes through a urine sample
Zhang et al. Two urinary peptides associated closely with type 2 diabetes mellitus. PLoS One Apr 2015.