“There are no high quality data on the efficacy of the dietary treatment of type 2 diabetes…,” according to a review at The Cochrane Collaboration.
Isn’t that an amazing revelation? There is no clearly superior diet for type 2 diabetes, according to Cochrane.
Nearly every published introductory remark on diabetes from various authorities declares that diet modification is a cornerstone of therapy for type 2 diabetes. I’m not surprised to see the opinion of the Cochrane group; it’s consistent with the literature review I’ve been doing for the last 18 months.
Cochrane last reviewed the evidence for various diabetic diet approaches on April 15, 2010. They looked at low-fat/high carb diets, high-fat/low-carb diets, low-calorie diets, very-low-calorie diets, and modified fat diets.
One of their conclusions is that the adoption of regular exercise seems to improve hemoglobin A1c in type 2 diabetics as measured at six and 12 months after initiation.
The Cochrane Collaboration has a history of skewering sacred cows in Medicine, based on reviews of the evidence. A quote from Cochrane’s “About Us” page:
The Cochrane Collaboration is named after Archie Cochrane (1909-1988), a British epidemiologist, who advocated the use of randomised controlled trials as a means of reliably informing healthcare practice. We are an independent, not-for-profit organisation, funded by a variety of sources including governments, universities, hospital trusts, charities and personal donations. However, we do not accept commercial or conflicted funding – this is vital for us to generate authoritative and reliable information, produced by people who can work freely, unconstrained by commercial and financial interests.
So, what’s a diabetic to eat in 2010?
Stay tuned here, and I’ll share with you the evidence-based answers as they are published in the medical and nutrition literature.
If a diabetic is interested in trying carbohydrate restriction, the Cochrane position statement provides that latitude. Regular readers here know my inclination: significant carb restriction. But also note that I’ve considered and reviewed vegetarian diets—which are usually high-carb—for diabetes.
I pledge to stay open-minded, altering my opinions on the basis of high quality scientific evidence as it becomes available.
Reference: Dietary advice for treatment of type 2 diabetes in adults. Cochrane Reviews, accessed online April 26, 2010.