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Glycemic control through nutrition is vital for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. A new study shows that highly structured nutrition therapy can help type 2 diabetic patients to a great extent, especially those who are obese.

Dubbed as the "Nutrition Pathway Study", this study is said to have far reaching implications since it can completely alter the way nutrition therapy is administered to the overweight type 2 diabetic patients. This specified nutrition plan has been found to exert a significant impact on the levels of HbA1c, body mass index and the lipid profile in patients suffering from diabetes. 

This study was carried out by researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center and was led by Osama Hamdy, M.D., Ph.D., Medical Director of the Obesity Clinical Program at Joslin Diabetes Center. The findings of the study were later produced at the 76th Scientific Session of American Diabetes Association in New Orleans, Louisiana. During the course of this study, the researchers compared three different models of nutrition therapy and studied their influence on the body weight, HbA1c levels and the blood pressure. 

Study Design 

For this experimental study, 108 obese patients suffering from type 2 diabetes were selected. All of these patients had uncontrolled diabetes and were receiving oral as well as injectable medications, with the exception of injectable insulin. The participants were randomly allocated to three different groups of 36 each. 

In the first group, the participants received the conventional nutrition therapy. The second group was administered a highly structured nutrition therapy with specified proportions of macronutrients and the number of calories. These patients were asked to maintain a log of their food intake. The third group of participants was given not only the highly structured meal plan but also received weekly coaching by a registered dietician. The level of activity and the medications remained unchanged for all the groups. 

Results 

The patients included in the first group were found to have no notable difference in their baseline levels of HbA1c whereas, in the second and third group, a sizeable reduction in the level of HbA1c was observed. There was a stark difference in the level to which HbA1c declined in the 2nd and 3rd group. 

While no distinguishable difference in the body weight was observed in the first group of patients, the participants of the second and third group experienced a remarkable drop in the body weight. Overall, the patients included in the study were found to have decreased the level of HbA1c by 0.67% after receiving the structured nutritive therapy. The researchers also noted around 3.5 kilograms reduction in the body weight over a period of 3 weeks. 

The Future Prospects

This study has helped make the incredible discovery that nutrition alone can help control diabetes more than exercise, medication or other therapies. According to the scientists, this drop in the HbA1c levels is more than with any of the drugs currently being prescribed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. 

This study has provided considerable hope for the patients who have not been able to keep their blood sugar levels under a strict check even with multiple medication strategies and nutrition. These findings are expected to result in the formulation of detailed structured guidelines for nutrition therapy in overweight patients suffering from type 2 diabetes mellitus. 

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