The role of diet in diabetes management

Somia Iqtadar

Somia Iqtadar, MBBS, is an associate professor of medicine at King Edward Medical University, Pakistan, and chairperson of the Dengue Expert Advisory Group.

Should health-care systems that have limited resources (including limited access to the latest drugs for the treatment of type 2 diabetes due to their high cost) strongly recommend rejecting processed foods and returning to traditional eating models based on natural, mainly plant-based, products to prevent obesity and diet-related diseases, including type 2 diabetes?

Anybody who has an Internet access or a mobile phone can easily search what are the advantages of these plant-based foods and what are the disadvantages of this processed food.

I think, for all diabetic patients—in whichever setting they are—there is an advantage in discontinuing processed foods and taking natural foods in their diet because processed foods are high in calories, but these are not good calories.

The natural plant-based foods in the Mediterranean diet, which is balanced, are better for the patient, better for glycemic control, and in the long run can prevent obesity in patients or, if the patient is already obese, they can help them lose weight.

And now weight management and diet are the fundamental part of diabetes care plan. So I think [plant-based diet] should be part of it.

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