Latest Study: Diabetes Drugs Don’t Work, Diet and Exercise Are Still Best

According to a recent study the latest “magic bullet” drug therapy for diabetes and heart disease does not come close to working as advertised. In fact, researchers found that the combination of the high blood pressure drug Diovan (valsartan) and the anti-diabetes drug Starlix (nateglinide) failed to reduce the risk of heart attack at all and Diovan was only slightly successful in slowing the development of type II diabetes.

Lead researcher Robert M Califf from Duke University School of Medicine stated: “This is a sobering confirmation of the need to continue to focus on lifestyle improvements.”

In the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that when compared to a placebo, valsartan and nateglinide failed to statistically reduce the incidence of either extended cardiovascular risk or core cardiovascular risk. The cumulative incidence of diabetes was 33.1% in the valsartan group, as compared with 36.8% in the placebo group.

Type II diabetes is known as a “lifestyle disease” because it is brought on by eating processed foods, junk foods and fast foods. It affects around 150 million people around the world and has become THE lifestyle disease of modern times. According to doctors, the two main risk factors are excess weight and lack of exercise.

Some research has suggested that being overweight, as measured by body mass index (BMI), is the greatest risk factor for diabetes. For example, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston conducted a study on 37,878 women who had no diabetes and found that women who were overweight had their diabetes risk increase by nine times. By comparison, those who were relatively inactive only increased their risk by less than one times. What the study evidently did not measure was the kind of foods that led to being overweight. In other words, was the weight increase from relatively healthy food items or was it due to consumption of unhealthy foods, as was likely?

The bottom line is that the best advice for avoiding diabetes is to have both a healthy diet and a healthy, active lifestyle. A sensible diet to help avoid diabetes would be one that includes plenty of vegetables, especially raw and lightly steamed vegetables, some fruits (though little or no fruit juice because of its high sugar content), fermented whole grains, and getting rid of dangerous trans fats. Other good food items include almonds, apples, oranges, coconut oil, garlic, onions, and substances high in omega three oils (such as olive oil, flaxseed oil and fish oil).

Exercise to keep diabetes at bay need not be strenuous. Moderate exercise such as daily brisk walks and staying active should be plenty for most people, though those that are seriously overweight may want to exercise a bit more and restrict their calories to reduce their weight. Even an easily achievable weight loss of 5% has been shown to have significant health benefits, and for many people that might require little more than regular walking and eliminating sugary sodas.

An often overlooked item in diabetes prevention is the importance of adequate iodine. Iodine is a key element in fighting diabetes because it helps regulate the thyroid and is essential for a healthy liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleens and more. While it is well known that diet, obesity, food allergies, viral infections, and stress are all contributing factors for diabetes, it is less widely recognized that these factors are often either a cause of or caused by a weak liver, spleen, and pancreas.