Web-based nutrition program transforms type 2 diabetes health

Media release

28 August 2023

A low carbohydrate nutrition program delivered online has been shown to significantly improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes.

The findings from the T2Diet Study, conducted at Deakin University, are significant as they demonstrate web-based dietary education can support people with type 2 diabetes, alongside standard care, and provide options for people living in regional, rural or remote communities.

Dr Jedha Dening, who led the research through her PhD at Deakin's Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), said the T2Diet Study was the first Australian study to show web-based dietary interventions can support self-management of type 2 diabetes and achieve significant health improvements in just a short time.

"This is also one of the few studies internationally to show web-based nutrition programs can be confidently offered to people to improve diabetes self-management," Dr Dening said.

Participants on the T2Diet Program improved their health significantly more than the group receiving standard care only, including reductions in blood sugar levels, weight, body mass index, and diabetes medication.

The 16-week randomised controlled trial was conducted remotely and involved 98 people with type 2 diabetes from metropolitan, regional, rural and remote parts of Australia. The study offered one group the T2Diet Program alongside standard care while the other group continued with their standard care.

Dr Dening said participants in the program group experienced an average reduction in HbA1c (blood sugar level) of almost one per cent, a clinically meaningful achievement in 16 weeks.

Program participants also reduced diabetes medications (25 per cent reduced their medications by more than 20 per cent) and 38 per cent lost more than five per cent in weight, which is a clinical recommendation. Those receiving standard care had minimal weight loss and increased medications.

Dr Dening developed the T2Diet Program through multiple phases of research and user-centred design and development.

"The program helps people improve their nutrition knowledge, better understand their diabetes, and build the confidence to make choices that more closely align with their diabetes health goals," Dr Dening said.

Australia currently has 1.3 million people living with type 2 diabetes and around 180 new type 2 diabetes cases are diagnosed every day.

Dr Dening said diet played an important role in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, but dietary education and support can be difficult to access, especially in rural and remote areas.

"The findings of this study show the enormous potential to provide more effective care that can make a big difference to people living with type 2 diabetes," Dr Dening said.

"Web-based dietary education and support is easy to access and on-demand, allowing people to seek information at their convenience and implement changes to their life over time.

"Provided alongside standard care, effective web-based dietary interventions, such as the T2Diet Program, can reach people wherever they are living and deliver the nutrition support that is urgently needed," Dr Dening said.

For more information on the T2Diet program: https://t2diet.com.au

Disclosure: Jedha Dening is co-owner of Diabetes Meal Plans, a web-based nutrition support service for people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, who licensed the web platform for the T2Diet Study.

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Media release Faculty of Health, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN)