Diet is a very important factor in diabetes self-management, e.g. low-carbohydrate and vegetable/fruit-rich diets, which can yield a ~30% reduction in cardiovascluar risk in people with diabetes. Various psychological factors such as acceptance and mental ability to cope with diabetes, and willingness to change lifestyles (including dietary habits) can affect diabetes management.
The concept of mindfulness (i.e. bringing one’s attention in the present moment without evaluation) comprises 5 interrelated facets:
Dispositional mindfulness (i.e. mindfulness as personal trait rather than a transient state) has been associated with healthier eating behaviours in a recent meta-analysis, which was not focused on diabetes. Emotional stress may be an explaining factor in the association between mindfulness and diet quality. Indeed, depressive symptoms have been negatively associated with mindfulness and diet quality.
This study, in which Giesje Nefs of Diabeter was involved, was a part of the Diabetes MILES (Management and Impact for Long-term Empowerment and Mindfulness Success)-The Netherlands. It aimed to assess associations between dispositional mindfulness and diet quality in Dutch adults with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, and the possible role of emotional distress in these associations. A total of 660 people with diabetes (296 type 1 diabetes and 364 type 2 diabetes) completed questionnaires about mindfulness, diet and emotional distress.
Limitations of this study include:
Concluding, the authors state