An unlikely treatment for diabetes

June 25, 2008 2:21:54 PM PDT
Researchers say there may be a new unlikely way to treat diabetes. This comes as a new study shows the number of Americans with diabetes has jumped by three-million just over the past two years.

Experts say we need to do more to prevent diabetes by curbing the obesity epidemic. Doctors are also testing new treatments.

Diabetic Cindy Nelson helped test a low-calorie sweetener called Tagatose. She took it before meals for a year. Researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Balitmore say it helps patients control their blood sugar and their weight.

"We know it's poorly absorbed so maybe 10 to 15% actually gets into the bloodstream. And if you're not absorbing the sugar then obviously you're not getting the calorie or sugar effects," said endocrinologist Dr. Thomas Donner.

Tagatose is found naturally in dairy foods and marketed in some other foods under the name 'Naturlose.' Larger studies of sweetener are underway at centers across the nation. They are looking for patients who treat their diabetes with diet and exercise. For information, call 1-800-492-5538.