Is There a Role for Diabetes-Specific Nutrition Formulas as Meal Replacements in Type 2 Diabetes?

Jarvis C. Noronha, Jeffrey I. Mechanick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Nutrition therapy plays an integral role in the prevention and management of patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D). A potential strategy is the utilization of diabetes-specific nutrition formulas (DSNFs) as meal replacements. In this article, we distinguish DSNFs from standard nutrition formulas, review the clinical data examining the effectiveness of DSNFs, and propose an evidence-based algorithm for incorporating DSNFs as part of nutrition therapy in T2D. DSNFs contain slowly-digestible carbohydrates, healthy fats (e.g., monounsaturated fatty acids), and specific micronutrients, which provide added benefits over standard nutrition formulas. In short- and long-term clinical trials, DSNFs demonstrate improvements in postprandial glycemic responses translating into sustainable benefits in long-term glycemic control (e.g., hemoglobin A1c and glycemic variability) and various cardiometabolic outcomes. To facilitate the delivery of DSNFs in a clinical setting, the transcultural diabetes nutrition algorithm can be utilized based on body weight (underweight, normal weight, or overweight) and level of glycemic control (controlled or uncontrolled).

Original languageEnglish
Article number874968
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
StatePublished - 29 Apr 2022


  • clinical practice
  • diabetes
  • glycemic control
  • glycemic response
  • meal replacement


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