New research compares diet and exercise in controlling diabetes

Exercise is being pitted against diet in a straight contest to find out which results in better diabetes control and the effect on heart function as part of a new study.

NIHR-funded researchers in the city will be examining the impact of a low calorie diet compared to a fitness regime.

The question is being posed because they want to look at the effects of diet and exercise on the heart in people with Type 2 diabetes.

The condition linked to lifestyle has been found to have subtle effects on the pumping function of the heart, even at young ages – but the reasons for this are currently unclear.

Professor Melanie Davies CBE, who is the Director of the Leicester-Loughborough Diet BRU as well as a Professor of Diabetes Medicine, said: “Many of the effects of Type 2 diabetes have been shown to be reversible, for instance following weight loss or after bariatric surgery. At present, however, we do not know if the same applies to the changes seen in the heart.

“This study is aiming to discover exactly how Type 2 diabetes causes changes in the heart’s structure and function using MRI scans. We will be looking to improve the heart’s pumping function by using either a weight loss program with a special low calorie diet, or with a structured program of exercise.”