Your patients who have diabetes may need more nutritional education and counseling, according to a recent report (J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109:1367-1375).

Investigators examined the baseline food and nutrient intake of 2,757 people with type 2 diabetes who are taking part in the Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) trial. As the researchers note, a low-saturated-fat, high-fiber diet that includes high-quality, nutrient-dense foods can help achieve and maintain healthful glucose, lipid, BP, and weight levels. Such metabolic control can in turn help reduce the long-term complications associated with diabetes.

But the researchers were surprised when their evaluation revealed the following evidence of dietary noncompliance: 93% of the study participants exceeded the recommended percentage of calories from fat set forth in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Guide Pyramid; 85% exceeded the saturated-fat recommendation; 92% exceeded the sodium recommendation; and fewer than 50% were consuming the minimum recommended servings of fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains.

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“Unfortunately, this evaluation found that the Look AHEAD participants consumed too few foods that would help them meet [national nutrition] guidelines,” researchers report. “These findings illustrate that these participants need encouragement and support in their efforts to make healthful food choices.”