University of South Carolina

Study: DASH Diet may help prevent type 2 diabetes

A University of South Carolina study has found that a well-known eating plan that emphasizes vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy products may prevent type 2 diabetes.

Researchers from the Arnold School of Public Health examined the impact of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet on type 2 diabetes among whites, African Americans and Hispanics. Their findings are published in the August issue of Diabetes Care.

Dr. Angela Liese, an Arnold school researcher and the study’s lead author, said the DASH diet, developed by the National Institutes of Health, has long been recognized for its ability to reduce blood pressure and the risks for hypertension. In fact, it has been recommended by the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

“But to the best of our knowledge, the DASH dietary plan has not been studied for its potential to reduce the risk for diabetes,” she said. “Our study showed that people who adhered more closely to the recommendations of the DASH eating plan had a much lower risk for diabetes.”

Arnold School researchers analyzed the dietary intake of 862 participants in the national Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study (IRAS). Participants completed a thorough dietary assessment of 114 food items, and researchers organized their food choices into the eight DASH food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, meats, nuts/seeds/legumes, fats/oils and sweets.

At a five-year follow-up visit, IRAS participants were checked for type 2 diabetes.

The evaluation of this data found that following a diet closely resembling that of the DASH eating plan was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes among whites but not in blacks or Hispanics, said Liese, who said that one constraint of the study may have been a limited number of minorities in IRAS.

“The DASH diet, with its emphasis on vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products, nuts, seeds and whole grains and its limits on meat, poultry, eggs, fats and oils, certainly makes this eating plan a likely candidate for diabetes prevention,” Liese said.

“The DASH diet offers a healthy approach to eating, and we believe that further studies are warranted to show its effectiveness in preventing a disease that has virtually become an epidemic in our nation,” she said.

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 08/21/09 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 09/08/09 @ 4:16 PM | Permalink