Advertisment

Challenging the 'Food as Medicine' Concept in Managing Type 2 Diabetes: New Insights

author-image
Medriva Correspondents
New Update
NULL

Challenging the 'Food as Medicine' Concept in Managing Type 2 Diabetes: New Insights

Advertisment

Recent Randomized Controlled Study on Food as Medicine

Advertisment

A randomized controlled study, which scrutinized the connection between food and medicine for individuals struggling with food insecurity and type 2 diabetes, revealed no significant clinical benefit for diabetes management. This finding challenges the widely held belief in the potential of food as medicine. Proponents of this concept are cautioned against making exaggerated claims about its benefits.

Intensive Food-as-Medicine Program: No Improvement in Glycemic Control

The clinical trial was conducted at two locations, one rural and one urban, in the mid-Atlantic region. It recruited 465 adults with type 2 diabetes. The participants of the food-as-medicine program, surprisingly, gained some weight as compared to the usual care group over the span of 6 months. The study found that the intensive food-as-medicine program did not help in improving glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes any better than routine care. It is vital to note that this study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan Health Systems Initiative.

Advertisment

Testing of the Intensive Food-as-Medicine Program

The program provided healthy groceries, dietitian consultations, nurse evaluations, health coaching, and diabetes education. The primary outcome was the HbA1c level at 6 months, and secondary outcomes included other biometric measures, health care use, and self-reported diet and healthy behaviors at both 6 and 12 months. Despite increasing engagement with preventive health care, the program failed to improve glycemic control compared to usual care among adult participants.

Healthy Food Interventions for Chronic Disease Management

Advertisment

A quasi-randomized control trial is set to evaluate the effect of healthy food interventions in tandem with nutrition counseling and education on chronic disease markers, food insecurity, diet quality, depression, and self-efficacy for healthy eating, healthy weight, and chronic disease management. The primary outcome is weight loss at 16 weeks from baseline. This trial aims to offer evidence to guide providers in their recommendations for healthy eating options to patients.

Randomized Clinical Trial Assigns Healthy Groceries

A clinical trial assigned 230 patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes and food insecurity to receive healthy groceries for 10 meals per week for 6 months. The hemoglobin A1c level improved in the group provided with food but also improved in the control group, resulting in a non-significant difference between the intervention and control groups.

Programme Providing Healthy Groceries: No Improvement in Glycaemic Control

A US study indicated that a program offering 10 meals per week of healthy fruit and vegetables to 500 people with type 2 diabetes and food insecurity did not improve glycaemic control. The HbA1c levels dropped by 1.3% for controls and 1.5% with the program at 6 months, with similar findings at 12 months. However, participation in the program was linked to increased engagement with preventive care, including dietitian visits, improved diet, and use of metformin and GLP-1 analogues.

Advertisment
Chat with Dr. Medriva !