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August 16, 2002

Meal Planning, Food and Diet

Question from Mahwah, New Jersey, USA:

My overweight twin sister has type 2 diabetes, and even though she watches her diet, exercises daily and takes her medications, her blood sugars are still highly elevated. Her doctor told her she will have to take insulin soon if there is no improvement. I heard of the Nova Diet for diabetes. It is supposed to help with blood sugars and also with losing weight, but I have not been able to find this diet on the Internet. Is there such a diet? Is it called something else? My sister is hoping to get her diabetes under control. Could you please advise on best way to approach this?

Answer:

Like you, I have had difficulty in tracking down the Nova diet, although there does seem to be a Spanish based one which involves some herbal remedies. However, I think your sister needs to have some further discussion with her doctor about the management of her type 2 diabetes because there are drugs like metformin that could help control the blood sugar before resorting to insulin.

There is no magic diet. However, in years to come, it seems possible that better understanding of newly recognised gut hormones like PYY and Ghrelin will lead to effective appetite control. Research on this has already begun in Britain.

Having type 2 diabetes does also call for some lifestyle changes, more exercise, less sitting and watching TV and help from an experienced dietitian with food intake. It sounds so easy to give the advice, but it is very hard to implement these changes. A new device that your sister might want to consider is the new FreeStyle meter that comes with a Palm Pilot already programmed to assess the ‘carbs’ in a meal.

DOB