Diabetes

24 November 2010

Dieticians help effective management of diabetes

Proper nutrition therapy is essential for the successful management of type 1 and type 2 diabetes and registered dieticians can play a key role as part of the health care team.

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Proper nutrition therapy is essential for the successful management of type 1 and type 2 diabetes and registered dieticians (RDs) can play a key role as part of the health care team.

An article in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reviewed the evidence and nutrition practice recommendations presented in the American Dietetic Association Nutrition Practice Guidelines for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes in adults. This complete and systematic review presents 29 key nutrition practice guidelines in order to best support people with diabetes.

According to Marion J Franz, MS, RD, lead author and noted nutrition consultant, "This publication has reviewed the process for developing the guidelines, identified major and contributing factors for diabetes nutrition therapy, reviewed and summarised research, and stated the nutrition practice recommendations that are to be integrated into the nutrition care process.

The guidelines

The nutrition practice guidelines provide recommendations for assessing client/patient needs and for selecting interventions, monitoring and evaluating outcomes.

The evidence is strong that medical nutrition therapy provided by RDs is an effective and essential therapy in the management of diabetes. RDs are uniquely skilled in this process."

The authors conducted a thorough review of the research literature to distill evidence-based nutrition recommendations and practice guidelines regarding the major nutrition therapy factors – carbohydrates (intake, sucrose, non-nutritive sweeteners, glycemic index, fiber), protein intake, cardiovascular disease, and weight management.

Armed with information regarding what works and why, RDs can encourage lifestyle changes and select appropriate interventions based on key recommendations that include consistency in day-to-day carbohydrate intake, adjusting insulin doses to match carbohydrate intake, substitution of sucrose-containing foods, usual protein intake, cardioprotective nutrition interventions, weight management strategies, regular physical activity, and use of self-monitored blood glucose data.

Key recommendations:

  • Consistency in day-to-day carbohydrate intake for persons with type 2 diabetes
  • Adjusting insulin dose to match carbohydrate intake for persons with type 1 diabetes
  • Focusing on total carbohydrate intake rather than the type of carbohydrate
  • Cardio protective nutrition interventions
  • Weight management strategies
  • Regular physical activity
  • Use of self glucose monitoring data to determine if goals are being met

(EurekAlert/ November 2010)

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