New dietary guidelines may curb rising diabetes rates

Earlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released an updated list of dietary guidelines, which calls for vast reductions in the amount of fat and salt consumed by Americans. If followed closely, these guidelines may help halt skyrocketing type 2 diabetes rates.

The new recommendations call for individuals to cap fat consumption at 20 to 35 percent of their daily caloric intake. Additionally, they say that the majority of fats consumed should be unsaturated fats, like omega-3 fatty acids, rather saturated fats and trans fats.

"The key to lowering risk of both heart disease and type 2 diabetes is to replace saturated fat with health-promoting mono- and polyunsaturated fats," said Jim Painter, chair of the Department of Consumer and Family Sciences at Eastern Illinois University. "Such replacement decreases total and 'bad' LDL cholesterol, improves insulin responsiveness and reduces markers of inflammation."

The new guidelines come shortly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its diabetes prevalence estimates. The new numbers indicate that 26 million Americans have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. This is an increase of more than 2 million over the agency's previous estimates, which came in 2008.

Furthermore, another 79 million adults have prediabetes, a condition that often develops into type 2 diabetes.

One of the main reasons cited by agency officials is a lack of physical activity and poor diets. People are increasingly consuming foods that contain high levels of unhealthy fats and refined sugars. Both of these can lead to rapid weight gain and insulin resistance, which dramatically increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Following the new dietary guidelines may be a good start for individuals who are looking to reduce their diabetes risk and improve their health.
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