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Diabetes Benefits from Low-Carb Diet, Research Says

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New research indicates that a low-carb diet is more effective than a low-fat diet for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The University of Alabama at Birmingham participated in a study involving people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, according to a July 24, 2014 article on ScienceDaily.com.

Researchers said that contrary to popular belief, low-fat diets do not reduce obesity or the risk of cardiovascular disease. Instead, low-carb diets were seen to benefit type 2 diabetes. Combined with insulin, low-carb diets can also help those with type 1 diabetes.

Low-carb diets decrease both high blood sugar and cardiovascular risk, and result in lower serum triglycerides and higher high-density lipoprotein.

The study was carried out by 26 doctors and nutrition researchers. One of the study authors, Barbara Gower, Ph.D., professor and vice chair for research in the UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences was quoted on ScienceDaily.com as saying, "Diabetes is a disease of carbohydrate intolerance."

A low-carb diet has no troubling side effects while it reduces symptoms of diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

It was seen that type 2 diabetics on a low-carb diet were often able to rely less on medication, and some were able to stop taking any medications entirely. Type 1 diabetics were often able to cut back on the amount of insulin they needed to take.

Lead author Richard David Feinman, Ph.D., professor of cell biology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center was reported by ScienceDaily.com as saying, "The low-fat paradigm, which held things back, is virtually dead as a major biological idea. Diabetes is too serious a disease for us to try to save face by holding onto ideas that fail."

The study is on the website of the journal Nutrition.

Aglaée Jacob, MS, RD, CDE observed in an August, 2013 article on TodaysDietitian.com, that to a registered dietitian, the most effective way to manage diabetes is to decrease carbohydrates from the diet because this would help to balance blood glucose. This cuts to the very heart of diabetes.

The common practice to control type 2 diabetes used to be the reduction of carbohydrates. This treatment was dismissed many years ago, at least in part because of the introduction of medications that affect insulin production. In recent years, diets recommended to diabetics have been puzzlingly high-carb.

The American Diabetes Association endorsed a low-carb diet for type 2 diabetes in 2008, but recommended that a patient only do so for a year, for weight loss. This may have been out of a concern that such a diet isn't safe for a long period.

A study from Duke University Medical Center found that their low-carb participants lost almost 10 lbs. more than their calorie counting counterparts. This weight loss happened even though the low-carb folks weren't required to limit fats and proteins.

The study showed that better glycemic control came hand in hand with low-carb diets. It was found that 95.2 percent of those in the low-carb group were able to stop or cut back on their diabetes medications compared with only 62 percent of those in the low-glycemic group.

In other research from Sweden, 29 people with preexisting ischemic heart disease who also had a diagnosis or prediabetes or type 2 diabetes were evaluated. A low-carb diet brought better results than a Mediterranean diet. Blood glucose levels were improved, waist measurements shrunk to healthier levels.

A study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in January, 2008 had similar results to the Duke study, in terms of weight loss simply by restricting carbohydrate consumption.

People who have type 2 diabetes have two to four times the risk for stroke or heart disease than people without type 2 diabetes. High-fat diets, even those that include saturated fats were not found to be a health hazard when carbohydrate consumption was reduced.

These findings were supported by a meta-analysis in Obesity Reviews' November 2012 edition.

"Reducing carbohydrates is the obvious treatment. It was the standard approach before insulin was discovered and is, in fact, practiced with good results in many institutions. The resistance of government and private health agencies is very hard to understand," Gower said.


Low-carb diet recommended for diabetics. Sciencedaily.com. Retrieved July 29, 2014.

Low-Carb Diets — Research Shows They May Be More Beneficial Than Other Dietary Patterns. Todaysdietitian.com. Retrieved July 29, 2014.

Visit Jody's website at http://www.ncubator.ca

Reviewed July 30, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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