A few minor adjustments to eating habits and lifestyle can reduce diabetes risk factors like metabolic syndrome, say researchers from the Finnish Diabetes Association.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of diabetes risk factors including a large waist circumference, high blood pressure, high levels of blood fat (triglycerides) and blood sugar and low levels of "good" HDL cholesterol.
In this new analysis of the ongoing Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study, 522 middle-aged, overweight men and women with impaired glucose tolerance were followed for about four years. (Impaired glucose tolerance is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes.)
The study participants were given specific and individualized diet and exercise recommendations and counselling to reduce their weight by at least five percent, or the general diet and exercise recommendations with no personal advice.
At the end of the study, people who followed the individualized recommendations had 15 percent reductions in both the metabolic syndrome and waist circumference. This group was regularly counseled to increase intake of whole-grains, vegetables, fruits, low-fat diary and meat products, and vegetable oils rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (e.g. olive oil).
The second group received general written and oral diet and exercise advice at the start of the study and during annual check-ups - but no individualized counselling. People following this "usual care" program had metabolic syndrome decreased by just 4 percent - and waist circumference did not improve at all.
Similar studies have shown diet counselling to be effective in managing obesity, a known risk factor for diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses.
This study, published in the journal Diabetes Care, highlights the importance of individualized, personal diet counselling and regular follow-ups to improve eating habits.Do you have risk factors for diabetes? Find out if working with Leslie Beck, RD can improve your health. Click here to read about her individualized nutrition consulting program.
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