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Recruitment begins for new study examining diet as treatment for Type 2 diabetes patients

  • January 30, 2019
UAB nutrition researchers are conducting a new study on Type 2 diabetes and addressing the disproportionate complications experienced by African American patients.
Written by: Hannah Bae
Media Contact: Adam Pope

RS26158 Barbara Gower 20190110 006 0561 scr 1Barbara Gower, Ph.D.Nutrition researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are recruiting participants for a new study on a sustainable intervention for patients with Type 2 diabetes, or high blood sugar — weight-maintaining low glycemic diets.

Department of Nutrition Sciences professor Barbara Gower, Ph.D., principal investigator of the study, explained that the diet alters body composition by redirecting energy away from these metabolically harmful lipid stores.

“We believe that a weight-maintaining LG diet will decrease body fat, including pancreatic fat, and preserve beta cell function,” she said.  

Beta cells, found in regions of the pancreas, are responsible for the production of insulin. In people with Type 2 diabetes, there is a decline of beta cell function; this decline is associated with the accumulation of lipids, or fats, in the pancreas.

Findings could be used in both preventive interventions and the slowing of disease progression, minimizing health care costs. The diet is an inexpensive yet effective tool that could change the course of treatment for Type 2 diabetes.

Gower also noted the particular significance of the study for African-American communities since this population has a higher prevalence of Type 2 diabetes and is likely more vulnerable to beta cell failure. Additionally, pancreatic lipids are a determinant of prediabetes — specifically for African-Americans patients. Addressing these factors may reduce the disproportionate burden and complications of Type 2 diabetes faced by this group by potentially modifying current clinical care guidelines to incorporate an LG diet.

Participants will receive weekly groceries, personal health information, group support sessions with a registered dietitian and monetary compensation for their time.

In order to qualify for the study, individuals must be between ages 35 and 65, African-American or European American, diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, not treated with insulin, willing to travel to UAB for testing visits, not pregnant, and willing and able to self-monitor blood sugar at home.