High-Fat, Low-Fiber Diet and Tobacco Use Accelerates Eye Disease
A diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol and low in fiber
accelerates the development of diabetic eye disease, according
to a study published recently by Manoa Professor Claudio
Nigg and David Cundiff of Long Beach, Calif. Their article
appeared in the peer-reviewed online medical journal, Medscape
According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is the
leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults 20–74 years
of age. Each year, between 12,000 to 24,000 people lose their sight
because of diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy is a disease in which
small arteries at the back of the eye are damaged.
Nigg and Cundiff used data from the Diabetes Control and Complications
Trial, a $50-million government-funded randomized control trial
involving 1,441 type 1-diabetics followed up to nine years.
Nigg and Cundiff results
• Limiting total dietary fat to 30 percent or
less of calories and saturated fat to 10 percent or less as recommended
by the American Heart Association, slows the progression of diabetic
retinopathy by 33 percent.
• Tobacco use clearly increases the rate
of retinopathy progression.
• A low-fat, low-cholesterol, high-fiber
diet significantly improves control of blood sugar and reduces
the amount of insulin required.
• Classical risk factors for large vessel
cardiovascular disease—high blood pressure, obesity, and
hyperlipidemia—also speed the development of retinopathy.
This analysis also confirmed many previous studies showing that
a low-fat, low-cholesterol, high-fiber diet decreases the risk
of hypertension and hyperlipidemia. Future prospective studies
of diabetic complications with subjects following a more plant-based
diet are recommended.
out the online article.