RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Type 2 diabetes rates are exploding in this country, with nearly 23 million people suffering from the disease in the United States alone. By 2050, an estimated 48 million will live with the condition in the U.S. Despite the rising number of cases, a new study finds that many people with the condition are not following recommendations that can lead to weight loss and better management of the disease. A big part of the problem is that doctors aren’t giving patients the information they need, says American Dietetic Association spokeswoman and Certified Diabetes Educator Constance Brown-Riggs, RD.
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THE DETAILS: The study’s researchers looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys done between 1988 and 2004, and found that people with type 2 diabetes aged 45 to 64 increased both the total calories and the amount of carbohydrates they consumed in a day. None of the age groups in the surveys cut calories during that time period, but the people who fell in that 45- to 64-year-old age group actually ate about 350 more calories a day, including about a 15 percent increase in their carbohydrate intake. That’s contrary to standard advice for people with type II diabetes, who should be reducing their calorie intake by 500-1,000 a day if they’re overweight. The study appeared in this month’s Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
WHAT IT MEANS: If you want to manage your diabetes, a healthy diet is absolutely key. But people with type 2 diabetes are often confused about their condition, believing common myths like “type 2 diabetes isn’t that serious,” explains Brown-Riggs. But indeed, it is. The disease can lead to kidney and heart disease, stroke, blindness, and depression.