Compelling results show a low carb diet is effective in type 2 diabetes management

by Barbara Hewitt on March 9, 2017

Following a reduced carbohydrate diet can help to lower blood glucose levels, providing a safe and effective strategy for managing diabetes, according to new research.

This comes from a systematic review of previous intervention studies, analysing changes to participant’s glycated haemoglobin levels following a switch to a lower carbohydrate diet by researchers at London Metropolitan University.

Glycated haemoglobin forms when haemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells, combines with glucose and is used to measure long term blood glucose levels

The study report says that the science behind the analysis is ‘compelling’ and that clinical guidelines should be reviewed to include a low carb diet as part of the advised given for the management of type 2 diabetes.

The review, which was conducted by Michelle McKenzie and Sarah Illingworth from the University’s School of Human Sciences, found that individual’s glycated haemoglobin levels fell when following a reduced carbohydrate diet, up to 120g per day, with the greatest reduction of 2.2% found in those eating less than 30g per day.

‘Our findings suggest that a reduced carbohydrate diet can be an effective technique for managing diabetes and new guidelines that promote lower carbohydrate intakes for both the general population, and those with diabetes, should seriously be considered,’ said McKenzie.

‘More long term studies are required to ensure that the results can be confidently translated into clinical practice, however, the science at this point in time is compelling and should not be ignored,’ she pointed out.

Participants following a reduced carbohydrate diet reported a significant decrease in body weight, losing a median of 4.7kg over a two year period compared to 2.9kg lost by those consuming a low fat diet.

A low carbohydrate diet was also associated with a decrease in the psychological stress associated with diabetes management and a reduction in negative moods between meals.

‘It’s important to consider which food groups should be used to replace carbohydrates when altering diet. Previous research has shown that diets high in fat, particularly saturated fat, carry risks for people with type 2 diabetes,’ said Illingworth.

‘Clinical guidelines should be reviewed to consider including low carbohydrate diets as a diabetes management strategy but this does not mean that it will suitable, or beneficial, for everyone,’ she explained.

‘Changes to diet should only be undertaken after consulting with a qualified dietitian and taking into account individual medical needs,’ she added.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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