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New Nutrition Guidelines from the ADA: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Oct 17, 2013

Healthy eating is encouraged for all individuals, but especially for those with diabetes…. 

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has released a new position statement on nutrition therapy for patients with diabetes. The last statement was published in 2008.


In the current statement, the goals of nutrition therapy include: promoting and supporting healthy eating patterns with an emphasis on a variety of nutrient-dense foods in appropriate portion sizes to improve overall health; addressing nutritional needs based on personal and cultural preferences; health literacy; access to healthy food choices; taking into account the patient’s ability and willingness to make behavioral changes; helping patients maintain the pleasure of eating through positive messages; and providing practical tools for meal planning. Additionally, attaining individualized glycemic, blood pressure and lipid goals, as well as achieving and maintaining body weight goals are key factors that play a part in overall patient health. Below are the general recommendations from the ADA for HbA1c, blood pressure and cholesterol.

  • A1C 7%
  • Blood pressure, 140/80 mmHg (changed from 130/80 mmHg)
  • LDL cholesterol ,100 mg/dL
  • Triglycerides, 150 mg/dL
  • HDL cholesterol, 40 mg/dL for men; 50 mg/dL for women

These new guidelines acknowledge that there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to recommending nutrition therapy for patients with diabetes. All nutrition therapy should be individualized suggesting patients consider their individual goals and choose an eating pattern that fits their food preferences, yet is still nutritional.

Practice Pearls:  
  • New nutrition guidelines available replace those from 2008 and acknowledge there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to eating plans.
  • Recommendation of portion sizes should take into account individual preferences, culture, religious beliefs, traditions and metabolic goals.
  • Patients with diabetes should receive individualized nutrition therapy to improve clinical outcomes.

For more information on the 2013 Position Statement on Nutrition Therapy, visit http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2013/10/07/dc13-2042.full.pdf

Diabetes Care, October 2013