Believing in God could help to combat type 2 diabetes, controversial new research suggests.
Accepting that someone created and now rules the universe encourages sufferers of the deadly condition to adopt a healthier diet.
Feeling safe under God’s care makes it easier for patients to plan a healthy diet with their partner, the study claims.
Eating together helps to scrap the urge to consume junk food and products high in sugar that could exacerbate the preventable condition.
Often thought of as harmless, type 2 diabetes is a hidden killer and can lead to heart failure, blindness, kidney disease, and leg amputations.
But critics argue the Florida State University findings could be dangerous, and aren’t based on enough evidence.
Oliver Jelley, editor of The Diabetes Times, told MailOnline: “We urge caution over the findings of this controversial research.
“All medical knowledge should be based on established research.”
For the study, the researchers surveyed 87 couples where one of the spouses had type 2 diabetes.
Their use of religious coping and shared glycemic control activities, such as sticking to a diet together, were measured.
Religious coping was defined as either positive, where they appreciated God’s love and care, or negative, when they casted doubt over his existence.
Volunteers were asked to respond to various statements about their connection with God on a scale of one to four, with four being the greatest signal of agreement.
They found that doing things together as a couple, such as planning a diet, was significantly associated with glycemic control.
If the diabetic patient was a non-believer, they were less likely to adhere to such beneficial plans with their spouse.
However, if the lover who didn’t have the condition was a believer in God then they were able to keep their partner on track through shared glycemic control.
Writing in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, the researchers said “religious coping and shared glycemic control activities appear integral to couples managing type 2 diabetes and, may serve as useful points of intervention”.
Type 2 diabetes is caused by having too much glucose in the blood because the body’s way of turning it into energy is not working properly.
As the condition progresses, sufferers often need to maintain a healthy diet, exercise and a combination of medications to manage it.
Someone’s life expectancy with type 2 diabetes is likely to be reduced as a result of the condition, by up to 10 years, it is believed.
The new findings come two weeks after Indian experts said patients with diabetes should take up yoga to help keep the condition under control.
Doing 45 minutes of the ancient relaxation practice for just ten days can have a dramatic impact on lowering blood sugar levels, they found.