Many people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, and most diabetics die from heart disease. So it would follow that if diabetics followed a healthier diet and lost weight, they'd reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke, right? Turns out, no. A massive long-range study has concluded that the lifestyle change makes no difference in terms of heart disease for people with type 2, reports MedPageToday. In fact, researchers stopped the study of 5,145 people two years early—it started in 2001—because the results were so clear.
“I was surprised,” the study chairwoman tells the New York Times. But "you do a study because you don’t know the answer.” Researchers emphasize that it still makes sense for diabetics to shed weight for a host of other health reasons, which means that doctors' advice probably won't change much, notes the Washington Post. It's just that diabetics' risk of heart disease won't change much, either, maybe because any medication they're taking trumps the effects of diet and exercise. "I think the patients in the intensive weight-loss group are very disappointed," adds the researcher. "They’d worked hard to make these changes.” (Read more diabetes stories.)