Lowering Diabetes Risk

July 6, 2012 in Diabetes, Diabetes Management, Exercise, Health by Mary Ireland

A new study released in Diabetes Care found that within the group studied, those who walked the most had a 29% lower risk of diabetes than those who walked the least. The study involved people from native American communities in Arizona, Oklahoma and North and South Dakota who are known to have low physical activity levels and high rates of diabetes.

Amanda Fretts, the lead author of the new report and a researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle stated that "Increased physical activity may prevent weight gain and promote weight loss, a major determinant of diabetes risk." When researchers factored a person's BMI (body mass index) into the risk assessment, they found that extra walking didn't provide extra benefits to reducing a person's diabetes risk. The walking led to weight loss, and the weight loss lowered diabetes risk.

Regarding weight reduction, as Dr. Grandma discussed in her blog post a recent study looked at the most effective diet plans for maintaining weight loss. Readers of Dr. Grandma's blog posts will not be surprised to learn that a low-glycemic index diet - similar to a Mediterranean style of eating - was a diet plan most easily adhered to and produced the best results for keeping off excess weight.

The three types of diet plans used in the study were:

  • A low-fat diet - reduces dietary fat and emphasizes whole grain products and a variety of fruits and vegetables. On this diet, the source of total daily calories was:
    • 60 percent carbohydrates
    • 20 percent from fat
    • 20 percent from protein
  • A low-glycemic index diet made up of minimally processed grains, vegetables, healthy fats, legumes and fruits. The breakdown of total daily calories was:
    • 40 percent carbohydrates
    • 40 percent from fat
    • 20 percent from protein
  • A low-carbohydrate diet - modeled after the Atkins diet, was composed of:
    • 10 percent carbohydrates
    • 60 percent from fat
    • 30 percent from protein

The results of this study are encouraging, because it gets specific about the best eating plan to follow if you want to lose weight and keep it off. You can not only reduce your risk of diabetes (and all the associated diseases such as cardiovascular disease and some cancers), but by avoiding diabetes, you can eliminate the increase risk of bladder cancer from the medication.

According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal diabetics have a 40 percent increased risk of bladder cancer than non-diabetics. Researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and observational studies involving over 1.7 million patients who had used pioglitazone which is a type of thiazolidinedione.

"We observed an increased risk of bladder cancer associated with the use of thiazolidinediones," writes Dr. Jeffrey Johnson, School of Public Health, University of Alberta, with coauthors. "In particular, use of pioglitazone was associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer based on a pooled estimate from three cohort studies involving more than 1.7 million individuals."

The old adage, "an ounce of prevention is worth of pound of cure" is especially true if you can avoid medications - most of which have side effects and can negatively interact with other prescriptions or supplements. On the Dr. Grandma's website, you will find information about implementing the Mediterranean lifestyle, including great tasting recipes and tips for incorporating the Mediterranean style of eating into your life.