Landmark Study Shows Diet Causes Diabetes
An important new global study shows that diet is a cause of most new cases of diabetes. The good news is that that means that preventing diabetes is largely in your control.
Diabetes is a leading cause of death all over the world, causing one in eight deaths. And the future prospects are not good: the number of adults with diabetes is going up quickly all over the world. Not one country has achieved a decline in diabetes in the past 40 years. What can be done?
This huge new study looked at the effect of diet on diabetes in 184 countries between the years 1990 and 2018. Even if you knew that diet was related to diabetes, what the researchers found will shock you. They found that 70.3% of all new cases of diabetes were due to dietary factors.
What were the most important contributors on your plate? The biggest causes of diabetes were not eating enough whole grains, eating too much refined rice and wheat, eating too much processed meat and too much red meat.
The region that was worst hit by diet was central and eastern Europe and central Asia because of excess red meat, processed meat and potatoes in the diet. The second hardest hit region was Latin America and the Caribbean where too much processed meat and sugar sweetened beverages, and not enough whole grains, are consumed.
The biggest change in diet that was related to increases in diabetes was eating too much red meat. The data also shows that what kind of carbohydrates you eat is key, with too much refined carbs and too little whole carbs being the leading-driver of diabetes.
This new study highlights the powerful impact of your dietary choices on your health. It also reminds us that our health is largely in our control.
Nature Medicine. April 2023;29:982-95