Eating Less Meat and White Bread Improves Metabolic Control in Diabetes

Dietary factors play an important role in the prevention of diabetes mellitus. While whole grain and fiber-rich foods, coffee, low-fat dairy products and green leafy vegetables protect against diabetes, an unbalanced diet increases the disease risk, as studies show for type 2 diabetes. Moreover, frequent consumption of meat and food products containing meat and white flour leads to poorer metabolic control in the early stages of diabetes.

Scientists of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) at the German Diabetes Center (DDZ) in Düsseldorf have explored the question whether certain foods are associated with the early course of diabetes. “In the studies, we found that eating less white flour products, meat and meat products in the early stage of diabetes positively influences blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity,” said Prof. Karsten Müssig, who is a diabetologist and physician nutrition specialist at the study center of the DDZ. “Moreover, the function of the insulin-producing cells, the beta cells, in the pancreas is strengthened by a balanced diet in the further course of the disease."
The study focused on participants of the German Diabetes Study (GDS)* with new-onset type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Participants with newly-diagnosed type 1 diabetes, who at the beginning of the disease stated that they frequently ate refined carbohydrates (e.g. products containing white flour), showed a stronger deterioration of metabolic control within the first two years after the diabetes diagnosis. In patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes, a relationship could be determined between a more frequent intake of meat and meat products at the beginning of the disease and deterioration in the function of the insulin-producing cells. The investigations were carried out within the first year after the diabetes diagnosis and were repeated after two years. The study has been accepted for publication in the journal "Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology & Diabetes".

Original publication:
The impact of dietary factors on glycemic control, insulin sensitivity and secretion in the first years after diagnosis of diabetes. (Katharina S. Weber, Anette E. Buyken, Bettina Nowotny, Klaus Strassburger, Marie-Christine Simon, Giovanni Pacini, Julia Szendroedi, Karsten Müssig, Michael Roden for the GDS Group)

*The German Diabetes Study (GDS) observes patients with recently diagnosed type 1 or type 2 diabetes starting after diagnosis for a period of ten years Thus, early warning signs of later complications can be identified, and all approved treatments can be compared with each other in parallel. The study also examines the influence of genes on the course of the disease. The study is conducted at seven locations in Germany within the framework of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD): Munich, Berlin/Potsdam, Tübingen, Dresden, Heidelberg, Leipzig and Lübeck.