Paula Deen’s recent announcement of her type 2 diabetes got me to thinking about diabetes prevention again. If you’re at high risk of developing diabetes you can reduce your risk of full-blown type 2 diabetes by 58% with intensive lifestyle modification. Here’s how it was done in a 2002 study:
The goals for the participants assigned to the intensive lifestyle intervention were to achieve and maintain a weight reduction of at least 7 percent of initial body weight through a healthy low-calorie, low-fat diet and to engage in physical activity of moderate intensity, such as brisk walking, for at least 150 minutes per week. A 16-lesson curriculum covering diet, exercise, and behavior modification was designed to help the participants achieve these goals. The curriculum, taught by case managers on a one-to-one basis during the first 24 weeks after enrollment, was flexible, culturally sensitive, and individualized. Subsequent individual sessions (usually monthly) and group sessions with the case managers were designed to reinforce the behavioral changes.
Although the Diabetes Prevention Program encouraged a low-fat diet, another study from 2008 showed that a low-fat diet did nothing to prevent diabetes in postmenopausal women.
I don’t know Paula Deen. I’ve never watched one of her cooking shows. She looks overweight and I’d be surprised if she’s had a good exercise routine over the last decade. I’m sorry she’s part of the diabetes epidemic we have in the U.S. I wish her well. Amy Tenderich posted the transcript of her brief interview with Paula, who calculates her sweet tea habit gave her one-and-a-half cups of sugar daily. Not quite a paleo diet.
- Nearly 27% of American adults age 65 or older have diabetes (overwhelmingly type 2)
- Half of Americans 65 and older have prediabetes
- 11% of U.S. adults (nearly 26 million) have diabetes (overwhelmingly type 2)
- 35% of adults (79 million) have prediabetes, and most of those affected don’t know it
I think excessive consumption of concentrated sugars and refined carbohydrates contribute to the diabetes epidemic. To the extent that paleo diets (aka Old Stone Age or caveman diets) restrict concentrated sugars and refined carbohydrates, they are likely to prevent type 2 diabetes.
Avoiding overweight, obesity, and physical inactivity may be even more important.
The Mediterranean diet has also been linked to lower rates of diabetes (and here). Preliminary studies suggest the Paleo diet may also be preventative (and here).
Greatly reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by eating right, keeping your weight reasonable, and exercising.
Reference: Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. Reduction in the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes with Lifestyle Intervention or Metformin. New England Journal of Medicine, 346 (2002): 393-403.