More dietary and lifestyle support is needed for people who are newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, researchers have said.
A team from the New Griffith University in Australia have carried out the first ever study which has investigated how the diet can impact people early after their diagnosis.
Lead researcher and PhD candidate Emily Burch from Menzies Health Institute Queensland said: “Improving your diet quality and other lifestyle behaviours (such as exercise) is the first step in managing type 2 diabetes.
“Specific diets can help control type 2 diabetes, but research has shown many people with type 2 diabetes have poor quality diets, which is profoundly affecting their quality of life and risk of developing diabetes-related complications such as cardiovascular and renal disease.”
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The team also discovered that people receive their diagnosis they are bombarded with lots of conflicting dietary advice which is not helpful for those who need help.
Ms Burch added: “We wanted to find out whether people change their diet quality after diagnosis with type 2 diabetes and what factors, if any, are associated with improvements.
“We found those who made improvements to their diet quality had poor diet quality early after diagnosis, were non-smokers, exercised regularly and had a lower body mass index (BMI).”
The study involved interviewing 225 adults who had just found out they had type 2 diabetes. Information about their demographic, diet, physical and health data were recorded, and the participants were put into categories depending on who improved their diet quality by three months and those who did not.
Ms Burch said: “Strategies targeted at better supporting smokers, those with low physical activity and a higher BMI are required. This work can help shape future research interventions that can better support all individuals to have long-term success in improving their diet quality and help reduce the risk of complications.”
The findings of the study have been published in the Nutrition and Diabetes journal.