Food: A Powerful Prescription for Diabetes Prevention
DES MOINES, IA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 24-09-2003 --
The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention projects that by 2050 the prevalence of diabetes will have
increased by 165 percent. It is estimated that, currently, 16 million
Americans have pre-diabetes, a condition greatly increasing the risk of
developing type 2 diabetes. Yet many Americans, according to a new survey,
don't realize that moderate changes in weight can prevent the onset of this
The survey, conducted by the Pork Information Bureau (PIB) as part of a
campaign to educate health professionals about the role lean pork can play
in a diet that prevents and treats type 2 diabetes, found that Americans do
not realize the risks of developing this devastating disease. Although
about one-third say having a heart attack (38 percent) or developing cancer
(33 percent) are their top health concerns, only one in 10 Americans are
concerned about developing diabetes.
The federally funded Diabetes Prevention Program has shown that modest
weight loss (5-10 percent of body weight) and physical activity (30 minutes
at least five times per week) can prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.(1)
Emerging research is now showing the importance of high-quality protein, up
to approximately 30 percent of calories,* to stabilize blood glucose levels
during weight loss.(2) The protein intakes studied were within the
recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences Food and Nutrition
Board, but below extreme intakes advocated by recent popular diets. It is
believed that a specific amino acid, leucine, found in the high-quality
protein of meat and dairy products, explains protein's beneficial effect on
weight loss and blood glucose.
"Understanding how to control portion sizes is key for both weight loss and
diabetes prevention," says Anne Daly, a past president of Health Care &
Education of the American Diabetes Association and co-author of 101 Weight
Loss Tips for Preventing and Controlling Diabetes. "Eating healthy foods
such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein, like pork, and
getting regular physical activity are included in the lifestyle recommended
for persons with diabetes and pre-diabetes."
The PIB survey found that the majority of Americans (73 percent) say they
would be willing to change their diet if they knew it would reduce their
risk of developing a life-threatening health condition. More than three
out of four Americans (78 percent) admit that their diet needs to be
changed or adjusted.
Power of Protein
In addition to the new research on protein's role in weight loss, protein
provides the body with many benefits: it is essential for normal growth and
development, it strengthens the immune system, it helps maintain overall
health of blood and other body fluids, and it provides energy. The body
needs a constant supply of protein to repair body cells as they wear out.
Most respondents (84 percent) believe that several pork cuts are as lean as
skinless chicken. Yet while most (83 percent) identified chicken as a good
source of lean protein, only about half that number (41 percent) selected
pork. Despite pork's reputation as a lean meat, the survey found that 77
percent of Americans eat chicken weekly while only 43 percent are eating
"Health professionals working with their patients to prevent or treat
diabetes know that variety is important," says Ceci Snyder, MS, RD, from
the PIB. "Lean proteins like pork can be a positive part of an eating plan
that promotes weight loss. For example, a serving of pork tenderloin has
24 grams of high-quality protein but just 4 grams of fat."
Healthful Cooking with Pork
The key when shopping for lean pork is to look for the word "loin" on the
label for the leanest cuts, such as pork tenderloin or loin chop. Adding
lean pork to a healthful diet can be as easy as creating a delicious menu
of Herbed Pork Chops, Marinated Fresh Vegetable Salad and Three Pepper-Rice
Pilaf . Another menu option is Roasted Pork Tenderloin with
Oregano-Coriander Rub served with
Ginger-Orange Carrots and Grapes with Herbed Couscous and Vegetables.
For busy, healthy weeknight meals, make twice as much as you need for the
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with
Rub recipe and refrigerate the remaining tenderloin. The next night you
can simply cut the refrigerated pork into strips to add to a mixed green
salad drizzled with raspberry vinaigrette dressing.
For More Information
For more information on type 2 diabetes, healthful recipes and to download
educational handouts and the Diabetes Food Guide Pyramid, log onto
(1) The Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. The Diabetes
Prevention Program: design and methods for a clinical trial in the
prevention of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 22:623-634, 1999.
(2) Layman DK. The role of leucine in weight loss diets and glucose
homeostasis. J Nutr. 261S-267S, 2003.
*Or about 0.7 grams per pound of body weight.
Ceci Snyder, MS, RD
Pork Information Bureau