Macronutrient Composition and Management of Non-Insulin- Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM): A New Paradigm for Individualized Nutritional Therapy in Diabetes Patients

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The Review of Diabetic Studies,2016,13,1,6-16.
Published:May 2016
Type:Review Article
Author(s) affiliations:

Efi Koloverou and Demosthenes B. Panagiotakos

Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Health Science and Education, Harokopio University, Athens, GREECE. 


Medical nutrition therapy constitutes an important lifestyle intervention in diabetes management. Several nutrition patterns have been effective in improving diabetes control, but there has been a debate about the optimal macronutrient composition in diabetes meal planning. For many years, the recommended diets for persons with and without diabetes were similar, i.e. heart-healthy and low in fat. For almost three decades, carbohydrates have been lauded, lipids demonized, and proteins considered of little importance. However, in the past few years, this concept has been questioned and reassessed. Modern nutritional recommendations for people with diabetes are headed towards individualization, but lack specific guidelines. Nutritional algorithms may help nutritionists in diabetes meal planning. This review aims to discuss: 1) the effects of the three major macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids) on glucose levels, 2) current recommendations for macronutrient intake for people with diabetes, and 3) specific parameters that need to be taken into consideration when determining the macronutrient composition for a person with diabetes, for example body mass index, degree of insulin resistance, HbA1c value, and lipid profile (especially triglycerides and HDL cholesterol). These aspects are analyzed in the context of the results of recent studies, especially randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Finally, we introduce an individualized nutritional concept that proposes carbohydrate over lipid restriction, substitution of SFAs with MUFAs and PUFAs, and adequate intake of dietary fiber, which are key factors in optimizing diabetes management.