Evidence-Based Nutrition Principles and Recommendations for the Treatment and Prevention of Diabetes and Related Complications

  1. American Diabetes Association

    This paper was peer-reviewed, modified, and approved by the American Diabetes Association Professional Practice Committee and the Executive Committee, October 2001.

    Printed with permission from

    Medical nutrition therapy is an integral component of diabetes management and of diabetes self-management education. Yet many misconceptions exist concerning nutrition and diabetes. Moreover, in clinical practice, nutrition recommendations that have little or no supporting evidence have been and are still being given to persons with diabetes. Accordingly, this position statement provides evidence-based principles and recommendations for diabetes medical nutrition therapy. The rationale for this position statement is discussed in the American Diabetes Association technical review “Evidence-Based Nutrition Principles and Recommendations for the Treatment and Prevention of Diabetes and Related Complications,” which discusses in detail the published research for each principle and recommendation.1

    Historically, nutrition recommendations for diabetes and related complications were based on scientific knowledge, clinical experience, and expert consensus; however, it was often difficult to discern the level of evidence used to construct the recommendations. To address this problem, the 2002 technical review1 and this position statement provide principles and recommendations classified according to the level of evidence available using the American Diabetes Association evidence grading system. However, the best available evidence must still take into account individual circumstances, preferences, and cultural and ethnic preferences, and the person with diabetes should be involved in the decision-making process. The goal of evidence-based recommendations is to improve diabetes care by increasing the awareness of clinicians and persons with diabetes about beneficial nutrition therapies.

    Because of the complexity of nutrition issues, it is recommended that a registered dietitian, knowledgeable and skilled in implementing nutrition therapy into diabetes management and education, be the team member providing medical nutrition therapy. However, it is essential that all team members be knowledgeable about nutrition therapy and supportive of …

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    1. doi: 10.2337/diaclin.20.2.53 Clinical Diabetes vol. 20 no. 2 53-64