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Market Wire: 24-09-2003 -- Food: A Powerful Prescription for Diabetes Prevention

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 epidemic disease.

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 pork weekly.

"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 Oregano-Coriander 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

Katy Lauler

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