1 August 2008

News Briefs

Mediterranean diet and diabetes
Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez and colleagues at the University of Navarra in Spain writing in the British Medical Journal report that sticking closely to a Mediterranean-style diet may protect against the development of type 2 diabetes. Study participants were 13,380 healthy university graduates (average age 38). Their dietary habits were validated with a food frequency questionnaire when they were recruited and they were followed up, on average, for nearly 4½ years during which time 103 of them were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that those who stuck closely to a Mediterranean style diet had a much lower risk of diabetes – high adherence was associated with an 83% relative reduction in the risk of developing diabetes. The authors conclude by calling for larger studies to confirm their findings.


Eat whole fruit not juiced and plenty of green leafy vegetables
The health benefits of eating plenty of fruit and vegetables are already well known but a study published in Diabetes Care in July reports that you need to be a bit choosy if your goal is to reduce your diabetes risk. Researchers from the Harvard Medical School and associates looked at the diets of more than 71,000 healthy women (at the start of the study) aged 38–63 for 18 years to see if there was a link between developing type 2 diabetes and fruit and vegetable consumption. The women completed a food questionnaire every four years. What did they find?

  • An increase of 3 servings a day of whole fruit was associated with an 18% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • An increase of 1 serve of green leafy vegetables a day was associated with a 9% reduced risk of diabetes.
  • One extra serving of fruit juice a day was associated with an 18% increase in diabetes risk.
The take home message to reduce your diabetes risk, according to the researchers, is eat whole fruit not juiced and plenty of green leafy vegetables. They suggest replacing refined grains and white potatoes with fruits and vegetables and sound a note of caution against counting 100% fruit juice as a serving of fruit.


Low GI diet reduces cancer risk
A number of studies have shown a higher risk of colorectal cancer in people with diabetes and more recently another study found that women with diabetes were more than three times more likely to develop endometrial cancer than women without diabetes. Writing in the June issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Italian researchers report the conclusions of their meta-analysis of 39 studies looking at GI, GL and cancer risk (breast, colorectal, endometrial and pancreatic). They found that:
  • A high GL diet increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 26% and endometrial cancer by 36%.
  • A high GI diet increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 18% and endometrial cancer by 22%.

What's new?
Glycosmedia separates the wheat from the chaff
Feel like you are drowning in diabetes information (research findings, news stories, journal articles) overload? This new website and free subscription email service may be just what you need to separate the wheat from the large amount of chaff.

Glycosmedia – www.glycosmedia.com – is an independent diabetes news service delivering the latest news and information. It’s specifically set up to cater to the needs of professionals working in the field of diabetes, both in the clinic and in research. But it will also be of interest to allied professionals and people with diabetes wanting to stay up to date with the latest developments.

Its point of difference from other online health/science news services is that the Glycos editorial team ‘hand picks’ and reviews all material (no automated trawling) making it a very cost effective way in terms of your time of keeping up to date with the latest reports and viewpoints, filtering out the press release type material.


GI News Chinese edition launched
A special Chinese edition of GI News is now available. Posted monthly, ginewschi.blogspot.com is edited by Selena Chan and translated into Traditional Chinese by Jimmy Louie – both Accredited Practising Dietitians. Jimmy is also a PhD student in the Human Nutrition Unit at the University of Sydney.


Diabetes and UTIs
Just as diabetes can cause complications such as heart disease and stroke, it also increases the risk for UTIs. Often, a recurring bladder infection prompts a physician to check a patient's blood glucose level and leads to a diagnosis of diabetes. Possible reasons for increased susceptibility to UTIs are the effects of high blood glucose levels on the immune system, bacterial growth, bladder dysfunction, and the increased incidence of Candida or yeast infections. Check out a new NIDDK booklet titled "What I Need to Know About Urinary Tract Infections".


Anonymous said...

"An increase of 3 servings a day of whole fruit was associated with an 18% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes."

Would that mean the we shouldn't bother with the fruit listings on the GI tables?

GI Group said...

Fruit and vegetables play a central role in a low GI diet for a variety of reasons including the fact that studies have shown that people who eat three serves of fruit a day, particularly apples and oranges, have the lowest overall GI and the best blood glucose control.In addition they are packed with anti-oxidants, nature's personal bodyguards.

If you are a healthy weight and don't have diabetes or pre-diabetes, then eating a wide variety of fruit is probably all you need to make sure you do. For those trying to lose a few pounds or manage their blood glucose levels, knowing the GI values of different fruits is a helpful way to reduce the overall GI of their diet and manage their blood glucose on a daily basis.

If you don't want to worry about numbers, here's a handy rule of thumb: temperate fruits and berries all tend to have low GI values while tropical fruits tend to have higher ones.

Anonymous said...

" An increase of 3 servings a day ... ". Does this mean a total of 4 : if not how many altogether ?


Anonymous said...

Some suggestions only:

I enjoy reading GI News and find them quite informative. While I understand what 'Mediterranean diet' and 'UTIs' are, I have a feeling not all readers would have any inklings about them. Perhaps GI News can define these terms in full for those particular articles for all to know what they are.

Too much to ask?

GI Group said...

Defining terms like Mediterranean diet and UTI's, thanks for the suggestion. We will keep it in mind. Glad to here you enjoy GI News.

hermin said...

hi Norman: while reading the paper, i found this bit: "The median intake of fruit in this population
throughout the follow-up period was
1.08 servings/day, whereas that for vegetables
was 3.09 servings/day."

so you are indeed right, an increase of 3 servings a day means a total fruit intake of ~ 4 a day.

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Anonymous said...

The restaurants or food chains containing kids’ menu have quite unhealthy and obesity inducing food in their top ten items. None of them put too much stress on looking into the health factor of the children. This is one of the many reasons contributing to the ever rising rate of child obesity. Children can’t even take all the medications available for weight loss. Most of the weight loss medications require prescription. Those who are curious about medications for weight loss might go through the following link to know more http://www.phentermine-effects.com.

hermin said...

hi Aldrich: i agree that many of the "kids' menus" they offered have loads of energy in it. so, i
think that McDonald's and Subway's initiative (in Australia) to make healthier products from healthier raw materials is a great start.

and i hope that:
- they can do it consistently and continuously, not half-heartedly

- they offer the "healthier fast food products" at every outlet (i have heard that some drive-thru
McD outlets don't have the "ticked" meals, i.e. the meals that have been given the Heart Foundation tick)

- all fast food chains will do the same. (and especially with kids' menu -- they need to cut
down the fat and add more fruit/veg in their menu). i also hope that they can make their healthy menus more affordable, as budget constraints often make people prefer "energy dense" (high calorie) foods rather than more nutritious foods.

so yes, we need to change the food supply in order to bring the obesity rates down.

hermin said...

but, rather than giving children free access to weight loss drugs, i think it would be better to keep those medications under prescription.

it's because they have lots of side effects, especially if consumed uncontrolled (inappropriately) in long term (e.g. stomach upsets, insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke). even adults can take too much of these
medications and get these "adverse reactions", even more so with children.

there are lots of safer, easier, and more fun strategies that we can use to combat obesity,
rather than allowing children more access to weight loss medications: physical education (either at school or after-class), increasing the supply of less energy dense and more nutritious food (especially in more remote areas), making healthy foods more affordable and appealing, improving the access to healthy foods (e.g. offer these foods in workplaces and
canteens; improve the transport access to fruit & veg markets or supermarkets), food fairs
and exhibitions etc, etc.