American Diabetes Association Releases New Nutritional Guidelines

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The American Diabetes Association recommends all people living with diabetes make nutrition therapy a part of their diabetes treatment plan, but emphasizes that there is no single eating pattern that is best for everyone, according to a position statement published recently in Diabetes Care (not affiliated with

The 2013 statement calls for all adults diagnosed with diabetes to eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods in appropriate portion sizes as part of an eating plan that takes into account individual preferences, culture, religious beliefs, traditions and metabolic goals.

Current evidence does not strongly support one eating pattern over another.

There is no conclusive evidence of an ideal amount of carbohydrate intake for people with diabetes.

Whatever carbohydrates are eaten should come from vegetables, whole grains, fruits, legumes and dairy products, over other sources that contain added fats, sugar or sodium.

Fat quality (eating monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and avoiding trans fats and saturated fats) appears to be more important than quantity.

Individuals working to manage their weight should still eat even good fats in moderation.

The new recommendations also state:

1. Diabetics should limit or avoid intake of sugar–sweetened beverages (from any caloric sweetener including high fructose corn syrup and sucrose) to reduce risk for weight gain and worsening of cardiovascular risk profile.
2. The recommendation for the general population to reduce sodium to less than 2300 mg per day is also appropriate for people with diabetes, with additional reductions individualized for those who have high blood pressure.
3. Diabetics do not benefit from use of omega-3 (EPA⁄DHA) supplements for the prevention or treatment of cardiovascular disease.
4. The recommendation for the general public, to eat fatty fish at least 2 times (2 servings) per week is also appropriate for people with diabetes.
5. There is no clear evidence of benefit from vitamin or mineral supplements for people with diabetes who do not have underlying vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Nor is there evidence to support the use of cinnamon or other herbs or supplements for the treatment of diabetes.