Jewels Doskicz is a registered nurse, freelance writer, patient advocate, health coach, and long-distance cyclist. Jewels is the moderator of Diabetic Connect’s weekly #DCDE Twitter chat, and she and her daughter both live healthfully with type 1 diabetes.

Recent research points to the importance of a healthy diet and supplements to preserve beta cell functioning in those newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, according to results of a SEARCH study in MedPage Today.

When diabetes management practices shifted from calorie counting and portion sizes to carbohydrate counting, many facets of healthy eating were altered. Current teaching focuses on giving insulin in relation to carbohydrates eaten with a decreased emphasis on dietary teaching and choices.

I was raised with type 1 diabetes prior to pure carbohydrate counting and feel lucky to have ingrained these practices. With fundamental changes in dietary focus such as "a carb is a carb," some with type 1 diabetes have morphed their diets into less than stellar ones.

Why should we be concerned about diet and its impact on beta-cell preservation when the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes still remains? This study reveals its relationship with three important outcomes: improved glucose control, decreased vascular complications, and less hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Dr. Laffel told MedPage Today, "It's always important to encourage a healthy diet for patients and families with type 1 diabetes. Everyone should be eating a healthful diet."

This research speaks of the potential importance of adding omega-3 fatty acids and Lucine into the diet, which is found in fish, meats, egg, soy, and dietary supplements. Researchers found increased c-peptide levels at the two year post-diagnosis mark, which is associated with an increase in insulin production.

Until further studies support adding these supplements our regimen, nothing substitutes for a clean diet that is rich in whole foods.