Friday, November 20, 2009

Diet 'more effective' than drugs in delaying diabetes

Compared to taking anti-diabetes drugs, adopting a healthy diet and regular exercise are more effective in staving off diabetes for a decade, a new study finds.

According to the study published in The Lancet, lifestyle changes resulting in small but long-term weight loss is twice as effective as drug treatment for preventing type 2 diabetes. Following a healthy diet combined with a half an hour of exercise five days a week reduces the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.

Taking metformin -- a drug commonly used to treat diabetes, conversely, lowers the risk of the condition by nearly one-third. While lifestyle intervention postpones the onset of diabetes by four years, the delay time would be about two years in those taking medication.

The benefits of intensive lifestyle intervention were reported to be stronger among the elderly. "There seems to be no short cut, and a persistent and prolonged intensive lifestyle intervention seems to be the most effective way to travel on it," said Anoop Misra, a specialist in diabetes in New Delhi.

Despite the fact that lifestyle and metformin are both useful for delaying or preventing diabetes, scientists concluded that dieting is more effective than medication.