If one of your New Year’s resolutions is healthy eating, here’s a suggestion. A University of South Carolina study has found that a well-known eating plan that emphasizes vegetables, fruits and lowfat dairy products may actually prevent type 2 diabetes.
The so-called “DASH” diet has been around for years. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. But a USC researcher has found that the diet is not only a long-standing way to avoid or reduce high blood pressure, it helps diabetes as well.
Dr. Angela Liese, a researcher with the Arnold School and the study’s lead author, says the research was conducted in a very straight-forward manner. “These are all free-living adults who consumed what they consumed,” she says. “They were not asked to change their diets. They’re just regular people recruited into the study, who tell us what they ate. Then we score their diet to see how well it adheres to the DASH diet.”
Liese says further studies are warranted to show the diet’s effectiveness in preventing a disease that has become an epidemic in the U.S.
Liese says the diet is heavy on certain things, but very light on foods that a lot of people are used to. “It’s a diet high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and a low intake of red meat, fats and sweets.”
Similar research in past years has shown that such a diet was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes among whites, but not in blacks or Hispanics. But Liese says the previous study was limited, and her research extends the benefits to minorities as well.
Dr. Liese explains why the diet works. “It’s probably the combination of a diet which is not very energy dense,” she says, “along with having foods that have lots of preventative properties. Fruits and vegetables can be very high in nutrients, but low in energy, basically.”
So Liese says those who depend on such a diet eat lots of really healthy foods.
And in case you haven’t heard, Liese says vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy products are recommended as healthy foods for most people. “Fruits and vegetables are very high in anti-oxidants,” she says, “but also micro-nutrients like magnesium and calcium. There is a whole range of micro-nutrients which might have this health-promoting affect.”