Dietary risk factors in type 2 diabetes.




Ann Intern Med

Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Chromium Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
Professional Data: Chromium Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2


When something is wrong with a person's blood sugar regulation even if insulin is being produced by their pancreas, the individual probably has type 2 diabetes. People with type 2 do not need to depend on insulin injections to survive. Type 2 diabetes is not fully understood. Three physical abnormalities usually occur in type 2: insulin resistance, increased glucose production in the liver, and poor beta cell function. These can occur individually or in combination.

Type 2 diabetes appears to be caused by genetic defects that at first make a person not able to respond to the actions of insulin. However, new evidence points to diet and lifestyle as important factors that may be responsible for the development of the disease. A person over the age of 45 and overweight is a likely candidate for developing type 2 diabetes. About 30-39 percent of Americans are obese, and many more are overweight.

In the recent publication of Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers analyzed the effects of dietary patterns and the associated risk with type 2 diabetes. This study, conducted in the United States, involved 42, 504 men. These men were between the ages of 40 and 75 years, and had not been diagnosed with diabetes, cancer, or cardiovascular disease at the start of this investigation. They were then organized into groups depending on their diet. The "prudent" group had eating habits that were high in fish, vegetables, and whole grains, and the "western" group had high intakes of red meat, sweets, and high-fat dairy products. Other risks were noted such as smoking, Body Mass Index, and physical activity. After a 12-year follow up, 1,321 cases of type 2 diabetes were recorded. The results illuminated that the prudent group had a fairly lower risk of diabetes, contrasting with the western group who had a high risk. The western group who were obese or who had little physical activity had the highest risk of type 2 diabetes. The authors concluded that a diet high in refined sugar and red meat is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.1


1. van Dam RM. Dietary Patterns and Risk for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in U.S. Men. Ann Intern Med. Feb 2002;136:201-209.