The general population has been recommended to restrict intake of salt to 6 g/day. Normal intake in Northern Europe is twice this amount. Dietary sodium restriction can reduce systolic blood pressure in mild hypertension in Type 2 diabetes. However, there is still debate about the efficacy of sodium restriction with regard to hypertension. In addition, the impact of weight loss in treating people who are overweight with hypertension also makes it difficult to distinguish between the benefits of salt restriction and energy restriction.
People with diabetes should be advised to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and other fresh, rather than processed, foods, which contribute to a significant proportion of the sodium in the diet, in order to cut down on salt intake.
There has been a lot of media hype over chromium and its ability to improve glycaemic control in people with Type 2 diabetes. Chromium is an essential trace element that has a role in glucose, insulin and lipid metabolism.
Suboptimal dietary intake of chromium is related to increased risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease. There are a number of small clinical trials which show supplements of chromium have been related to improvement in glucose tolerance in Type 1, Type 2 and steroid-induced diabetes. However, these studies are very small and carried out over a short period of time. There is an urgent need for properly powered research before the reported benefits of chromium supplementation can be assessed.