As the lifestyle disease of diabetes becomes increasingly common in India, there is hope from new studies which show that it can be kept in control. Based on diet and frequency of mealtimes, three scientific studies presented at the annual congress of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) held last week in Lisbon, Portugal, may help pave the way for therapeutic choices:
* Six meals per day instead of three keeps blood sugar under control.
Greek researchers from the Agricultural University of Athens, the Athens University Medical School, the Attikon University Hospital, and Harokopio University found that eating six meals containing the same number of calories as the usual three helped obese pre-diabetic and type 2 diabetes patients to better control their blood sugar levels.
According to the findings, type 2 diabetics saw a decrease in their glycated hemoglobin and glucose levels, which is a sign of better blood sugar control. For pre-diabetics with severely impaired glucose tolerance, six meals a day regimen reduced the occurrence of peak insulin readings and delayed the time it took for blood glucose to reach peak levels after eating sugar. Finally, the study noted that the participants, who did not gain weight during the 24-week experiment, felt fuller and were less eager to eat between their mealtimes.
* Milk reduces the risk of diabetes.
A British study, which monitored 12,000 individuals aged between 30 and 65, reports that there may be a link between dairy consumption, skimmed milk consumption and body fat mass distribution, which is an indicator of metabolic and cardiovascular disease. Participants who consumed more low-fat dairy products had better abdominal fat distribution and a higher lean fat mass, two criteria associated with a lower risk of metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes. The study also remarked that this protective effect was not observed for any of the specific dairy subtypes like cheese, butter, yogurt and ice cream.
* Coffee increases life expectancy.
A second study undertaken by the University of Porto in Portugal, which monitored 3,000 diabetics over 11 years, showed that female diabetics who drink coffee are less likely to die prematurely than female diabetics who don’t. The caffeine contained in coffee had a significant impact on the risk of premature death from all types of illnesses as well as cardiovascular disease. One cup of coffee per day (100 mg of caffeine) reduced the risk of mortality by 51%, as opposed to 66% for two cups a day. At the same time, the risk of cancer among patients in the study group who drank tea was reduced by 80%, when compared to the risk of women who did not.