World Diabetes Day 2019

Today is World Diabetes Day, and our post today is the third in our series of diabetes topics this week. Today’s post looks at research on the Dietary Inflammatory Index.

Statistics on diabetes from the World Health Organization are startling, the number of people with diabetes worldwide in 2014 was four times higher than the number of those with diabetes in 1980. It is projected that the number of those with diabetes will increase by 48% by 2045. It is estimated that there are 425 million people with diabetes worldwide. The Marshall Islands have the highest prevalence of diabetes. In the U.S., West Virginia has the highest prevalence of diabetes. Research indicates that obesity, physical inactivity, and poor dietary choices are closely associated with the development of diabetes type 2.

The Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII) was developed in 2009, as a way to measure the role of inflammation induced by diet and nutrition. The DII was updated in 2014. The index was designed to measure a particular individual’s diet with regard to it’s inflammatory potential. The effect of 45 different food and nutrient parameters on inflammatory biomarkers such as IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, and c-reactive protein was analyzed, with inflammatory scores assigned based on extensive research.

A research group from the West Virginia University Department of Family Medicine recently looked at the relationship between the Dietary Inflammatory Index and the presence of diabetes in a sample of adults from the National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES). In addition, they examined the relationship between DII and the severity of diabetes.

Over 4400 subjects from the NHANES (2013-2014) were included, 53.5% women and 46.5% men. The results were adjusted for age, alcohol use, BMI, gender, physical activity level, smoking status, and socioeconomic status.

The researchers discovered a significant association between the incidence of diabetes and Dietary Inflammatory Index scores, In addition, there was significant association between the severity of diabetes, and the Dietary Inflammatory Index scores.

High inflammatory diets have been shown to be associated with cardiovascular disease and arthritis. It should probably not surprise anyone that a pro-inflammatory diet is associated with a higher incidence of diabetes as well. The CDC estimates that nearly 1/4 of those with diabetes are not yet diagnosed. Perhaps future research will examine using the Dietary Inflammatory Index to identify those at higher risk for developing diabetes, so that a dietary intervention could be implemented.

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of vision loss among those age 20 and older, and is also one of the leading causes of kidney failure. Perhaps the best way to recognize World Diabetes Day is to carefully consider what one’s daily diet is comprised of, and make some changes going forward to lower the inflammatory potential of the diet. If you are overweight, or have a family history of diabetes, take the step of getting tested for diabetes. 

“I think I can wipe out diabetes.”–  Robert Atkins

(Source- Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 2019;32:801-806)

This blog is a review of published medical and scientific literature, and should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical or health advice, nor does it create a physician-patient relationship with anyone. Discuss any health concerns with your personal physician.



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