Exercise and diet are being compared in a new study to find out which has better results on type 2 diabetes management.
Leicester based NIHR-funded researchers will be looking at the effects diet and exercise have on the heart in people who have type 2 diabetes.
It is thought that the condition, which is linked to lifestyle, could slightly impair the pumping function of the orga, although the reason behind this is unknown.
The study will be split into two groups, one of which will be asked to keep to a structured diet of 810 daily calories with no exercise. The other group will embark upon a 12-week exercise programme without any dietary restrictions.
The age of all the participants will vary between the ages of 18 and 60, but they will all have type 2 diabetes and be overweight.
The project, entitled DIASTOLIC, has been funded by the NIHR as part of a research fellowship for Dr Gerry McCan, consultant cardiologist at Glenfield hospital.
Dr McCann said: “Heart disease is the commonest cause of death in patients with diabetes and they are at least four times more likely to develop heart failure.
“We need to find treatments that can effectively reverse heart damage in patients with diabetes to reduce their risk of complications and death.”
The initiative is a collaboration between two research teams, the NIHR cardiovascular biomedical research unit (BRU), based at Leicester Glenfield Hospital and the NIHR Leicester-Loughborough diet, lifestyle and physical activity BRU, which is located at the Leicester Diabetes Centre at Leicester General Hospital.
Professor Melanie Davies CBE, who is the director of the Leicester-Loughborough diet BRU as well as a professor of diabetes medicine at the University of Leicester, said: “Many of the effects of type 2 diabetes have been shown to be reversible, for instance following weight loss or after bariatric surgery. At present, however, we do not know if the same applies to the changes seen in the heart.
“This study is aiming to discover exactly how type 2 diabetes causes changes in the heart’s structure and function using MRI scans. We will be looking to improve the heart’s pumping function by using either a weight loss program with a special low calorie diet, or with a structured program of exercise.”

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