Diabetes: Simple lifestyle change ‘more powerful’ than drugs at keeping condition at bay

Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert

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One in 10 people are predicted to have type 2 diabetes by 2030 in the UK. A new study has revealed one simple thing you might want to change about your routine to keep diabetes at bay.

The simple lifestyle change that could help control diabetes is diet.

The study by the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre looked at the impact of diet compared to drugs on the inner workings of our cells.

They have found that nutrition has a much stronger impact.

The study published in the journal Cell Metabolism also suggests that diabetes isn’t the only condition that can be kept at bay with the right diet.

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For conditions like stroke and heart disease, the makeup of our diet might be “more powerful” than drugs as well.

The new research has shown that overall calories and macronutrient balance have a greater impact on ageing and metabolic health, compared to three drugs commonly used to treat diabetes.

Macronutrients describe the nutrients you eat and give you energy, they include protein, carbohydrates and fats.

The pre-clinical study discovering the importance of nutrition was conducted on mice.

The team’s work shows the role of diet and specific combinations of proteins, fats and carbohydrates against ageing, obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Senior author, Professor Stephen Simpson, said: “Diet is a powerful medicine. Drugs are designed to act in the same way, and on the same nutrient-signalling pathways as diet.

“Given humans share essentially the same nutrient-signalling pathways as mice.

“The research suggests people would get better value from changing their diet to improve metabolic health rather than taking the drugs we studied.”

The researchers designed a complex mouse study that included 40 different treatments.

Each of these treatments had different levels of protein, fat and carbohydrate balance, calories and drug content.

They have found that calorie intake and the balance of macronutrients strongly affect the liver.

Protein and total calorie intake impact our metabolic pathways and the processes that control how our cells function.

Protein is linked to activity in the mitochondria, part of cells that produce energy.

The research also showed that drugs mainly dampen the cell’s metabolic response to diet, rather than “fundamentally” re-shaping them, Science Direct reports.

One anti-ageing drug had a larger impact on changes in the cells caused by dietary fat and carbohydrates.

One cancer and another diabetes drug blocked the effects of dietary protein on mitochondria.

Lead author Professor David Le Couteur added: “This study showed how food can dramatically influence many of the processes operating in our cells.”

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