Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Nutrition Plays Vital Role in Managing Diabetes
November 16, 2023
CHICAGO - November is National Diabetes Month, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is raising awareness about the positive impact that healthful eating habits can have on individuals with Type 2 diabetes, as well as those at risk of developing the chronic disease.
“Registered dietitian nutritionists can provide individualized recommendations based on a person’s health needs, abilities and resources to help them prevent or manage Type 2 diabetes,” says registered dietitian nutritionist Colleen Tewksbury, a national Academy Spokesperson in Philadelphia, Pa. “With support from an RDN, people have the power through nutrition and other lifestyle changes to prevent or delay the progression of prediabetes to Type 2 diabetes.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 37 million people in the U.S. have diabetes and 20% are unaware they have it. In addition, 96 million adults have prediabetes, with more than 80% unaware they have it.
Registered dietitian nutritionists, who are the food and nutrition experts, are uniquely educated and trained to provide medical nutrition therapy, which includes regular therapeutic and counseling services to help patients manage prediabetes and diabetes, Tewksbury says.
“MNT is effective in improving cardiometabolic risk factors in adults with prediabetes by improving glycemic outcomes, blood pressure and most lipid levels as well as reducing the risk of developing other chronic diseases,” says registered dietitian nutritionist Caroline Passerrello, a national Academy Spokesperson in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Passerrello provides the following healthful eating tips:
- Enjoy a Variety of Foods: Planning meals and snacks to include complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and legumes along with a lean protein food or healthful fat provides sustained energy while minimizing blood sugar spikes.
- Include Foods with Fiber: Whole grain foods, such as brown rice, oatmeal, whole-wheat breads and whole-grain cereals, are digested more slowly which may help to control blood sugar and support heart health. Fruits and vegetables also provide dietary fiber, along with essential vitamins and minerals.
- Plan for Portion Control: Eating appropriate portion sizes and a consistent amount of carbohydrate is crucial for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Eat meals and healthful snacks throughout the day to minimize blood sugar swings.
- Choose Healthful Fats: Substituting unsaturated fats, such as those found in oils, for solid fats can help reduce sources of saturated fat. Switching to low-fat or fat-free dairy and choosing lean meats, skinless poultry and fatty fish also can help to limit saturated fat intake.
- Focus on Fruits and Vegetables: Whole fruits can provide a healthful and satisfying alternative to foods with added sugars. Include a variety of non-starchy vegetables into your daily meals such as leafy greens, asparagus, carrots and broccoli.
In addition to helping people manage diabetes, research shows that meeting regularly with an RDN may decrease the need for certain medicines, Tewksbury says. To find an RDN near you, visit the Academy’s Find a Nutrition Expert directory.
Representing more than 112,000 credentialed nutrition and dietetics practitioners, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at www.eatright.org.
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