The evidence for medical nutrition therapy for type 1 and type 2 diabetes in adults

J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Dec;110(12):1852-89. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2010.09.014.


This article reviews the evidence and nutrition practice recommendations from the American Dietetic Association's nutrition practice guidelines for type 1 and type 2 diabetes in adults. The research literature was reviewed to answer nutrition practice questions and resulted in 29 recommendations. Here, we present the recommendations and provide a comprehensive and systematic review of the evidence associated with their development. Major nutrition therapy factors reviewed are carbohydrate (intake, sucrose, non-nutritive sweeteners, glycemic index, and fiber), protein intake, cardiovascular disease, and weight management. Contributing factors to nutrition therapy reviewed are physical activity and glucose monitoring. Based on individualized nutrition therapy client/patient goals and lifestyle changes the client/patient is willing and able to make, registered dietitians can select appropriate interventions based on key recommendations that include consistency in day-to-day carbohydrate intake, adjusting insulin doses to match carbohydrate intake, substitution of sucrose-containing foods, usual protein intake, cardioprotective nutrition interventions, weight management strategies, regular physical activity, and use of self-monitored blood glucose data. The evidence is strong that medical nutrition therapy provided by registered dietitians is an effective and essential therapy in the management of diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Diet, Diabetic / standards*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Nutrition Therapy*
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Dietary Carbohydrates