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Functional Foods for Type 2 Diabetes

1 Department of Internal Medicine, National Center for Global Health and Medicine Kohnodai Hospital, 1-7-1 Kohnodai, Chiba 272-8516, Japan
2 Hamasaki Clinic, 2-21-4 Nishida, Kagoshima 890-0046, Japan

A number of studies have suggested that functional foods such as tea, wheat, nuts, and sweet potatoes have beneficial effects on glycemic control; however, the effectiveness of consuming functional foods for the management of diabetes remains unclear. The aim of this review is to summarize the evidence for functional foods in diabetes maintenance. A PubMed and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews search utilizing the indexing terms “functional food” and “diabetes” was performed. A total of 11 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) met the criteria. Resveratrol, wheat albumin, ginger, and wine grape pomace flour all improved glycemic control, insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, and lipid profiles. On the other hand, citrus flavonoids-enriched product, arabinogalactan, low-fat milk, raw red onion, and functional yogurt appear to have no effects on diabetes. As for resveratrol, the results are controversial. Although the underlying mechanism is not clear, the differences in the characteristics of study participants may have an influence on the effectiveness of functional foods. However, the effects of functional foods on diabetes remain inconclusive due to the small number of subjects, short duration, and methodological heterogeneity among RCTs. In addition to the current evidence, further RCTs investigating the effects of functional foods on diabetic complications, mortality, and cost-effectiveness, as well as glycemic control, are required.
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Keywords functional food; resveratrol; glycemic control; type 2 diabetes; randomized controlled trial

Citation: Hidetaka Hamasaki. Functional Foods for Type 2 Diabetes. AIMS Medical Science, 2016, 3(3): 278-297. doi: 10.3934/medsci.2016.3.278


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