New expert consensus statement published on achieving remission of type 2 diabetes using diet as a primary intervention

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The American College of Lifestyle Medicine released a consensus statement to aid clinicians in treating type 2 diabetes in adults. It uses diet as the primary intervention. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinology, supported by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and cosponsored by Endocrine Society, has endorsed the expert consensus.

This is a unique publication. American Journal of Lifestyle medicine is the first to focus on diet as primary means of achieving lasting remission of diabetes—without medications or procedures—in contrast with the usual role of diet as an adjunctive therapy. Many adults with type 2 diabetes find it empowering to know that diet alone can bring about remission. This is especially true when there is consensus among cardiologists, family physicians and endocrinologists.

The expert consensus statement, entitled “Dietary Interventions for Type 2 Diabetes in Adults with the Goal of Remission,” was written by a multidisciplinary team of 15 experts who used a trusted modified Delphi process. The panel agreed that diet can be used as a primary intervention to achieve remission in many adults suffering from type 2 diabetes. This is defined as normal glycemic levels (normal HbA1c).

“Remission” is the ideal outcome for individuals with type 2, said Richard Rosenfeld MD., MPH., MBA, DipABLM. He is the lead author of the expert consensus and Senior Liaison for Medical Society Relations, ACLM. “The consensus statements will empower patients and clinicians to use a plant-preferential diet as ‘food and medicine’ for remission of type 2. They will also facilitate shared management decisions based upon current best evidence and structured expert consensus.

According to the publication, type 2 diabetes affects 10.5% of American adults and causes $327 billion in direct costs each year. This is why it is so important to reduce its prevalence. The condition can lead blindness, kidney disease, heart disease, and amputation, as well as other co-morbidities that reduce quality of life, and contribute to the rise in mortality rates.

Felice Caldarella, President of AACE, stated that a healthy diet is an important component of current lifestyle guidelines to treat type 2 diabetes. However, it is often overlooked due to a lack of patient awareness and physician training. “The consensus statements of this panel of experts are invaluable in raising awareness about the importance of diet for diabetes management and remission.”

The expert panel reached consensus on 69 statements. These included those relating to diet and type 2 diabetes, diet specifics and types, adjuvants and other interventions, support, monitoring and adherence, weight loss, payment, and policy. The expert panel recommended that more research be done in areas such as evaluating the effects of reducing animal foods on promoting remission, and assessing if remission can also be achieved with ad-libitum food intake, whole food, plant-based diet patterns. More controlled, randomized trials are needed to evaluate sustainable plant-based diets with whole or minimally processed foods as a primary treatment for type 2 diabetes.

International standards for type 2 diabetes remission established

More information:
A Consensus Statement by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine on Dietary Interventions to Treat Type 2 Diabetes in Adults: A Expert Consensus Statement American Journal of Lifestyle medicine (2022). DOI: 10.1177/15598276221087624

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American College of Lifestyle Medicine

New expert consensus statement on how to achieve remission from type 2 diabetes using diet (May 18),
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