Dr. Diewertje Sluik of the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke in Nuthetal, Germany, and colleagues used data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, 6,384 with diabetes and 258,911 without known diabetes.
Computer modeling was used to explore the relationship in both those with and without diabetes of mortality with the following risk factors: body-mass index, waist/height ratio, 26 food groups, alcohol consumption, leisure-time physical activity and smoking.
The study, published in Diabetologia, found overall mortality was 62 percent higher in people with diabetes compared with those without, but eating fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, pasta, poultry and vegetable oil was related to a lower mortality risk. However, the eating of butter and margarine was related to an increased mortality risk.
While the strength of the association was different in those with diabetes versus those without, the associations were in the same direction in each case. No differences between people with and without diabetes were detected for the other lifestyle factors including level of fat, alcohol consumption, physical activity and smoking, Sluik said.
"It appears that the intake of some food groups is more beneficial -- fruits legumes, nuts, seeds, pasta, poultry, vegetable oil -- or more detrimental food such as soft drinks, butter, margarine, cake, cookies with respect to mortality risk in people with diabetes.
This may indicate that individuals with diabetes might benefit more from a healthy diet than people without diabetes. However, since the directions of association were generally the same, recommendations for a healthy diet should be similar for people with or without diabetes."