July 2, 2008

Diabetic Dietary Adherence Effective

Diabetes management has focused on medications and technology, but adherence to prescribed dietary recommendations is effective, U.S. researchers said.

Senior author Dr. Lori Laffel of Joslin Diabetes Center surveyed the parents of 119 children and teens ages 9 to 14 years and asked how closely they followed prescribed dietary behaviors, such as estimating carbohydrate intake, matching the child's insulin dose to carbohydrate intake and the quality of the diet itself, in terms of intake of sweets and fats.

Subjects who most closely adhered to the dietary recommendations had lower A1C levels -- a measurement of average blood glucose deemed the best way to estimate overall glucose control. Lower A1C levels mean better glucose control, Laffel said.

Children with type 1 diabetes who adhered closely or fairly closely to the prescribed dietary recommendations showed an A1C level of up to almost one full point lower than those who were least adherent. Those who adhered the least had an average A1C of 9 percent, while those who adhered more closely to the recommendations had an average A1C between 8.1 and 8.4 percent, depending on their level of adherence.

The study published in the July issue of Diabetes Care.