Low-carb diet may help lower blood sugar, prevent type 2 diabetes

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Often, people treated for diabetes are advised to follow a low-carb diet.

But, does this advice hold true for those who have diabetes or prediabetes, but aren’t on medication?

New research from Tulane University suggests that a low-carb diet could indeed help these individuals lower their blood sugar.

The Research

The study, which was published in JAMA Network Open, looked at two groups of people: one group was told to follow a low-carb diet, while the other group carried on eating their normal diet.

After six months, the group on the low-carb diet had a more significant decrease in their hemoglobin A1c levels, which indicate blood sugar levels, compared to the group eating their usual diet.

The low-carb group also lost weight and had lower fasting glucose levels.

“A low-carb diet, if maintained, might be a useful approach for preventing and treating Type 2 diabetes,” said lead author Kirsten Dorans from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

However, she stressed that more research is needed to confirm this.

Why Is This Important?

Diabetes is a condition where the body doesn’t use insulin correctly, causing an inability to regulate blood sugar levels.

In the U.S., about 37 million people have diabetes, with Type 2 diabetes accounting for more than 90% of these cases.

For individuals with prediabetes, whose A1c levels are high but not high enough to be classified as diabetes, these findings are particularly important.

Prediabetes affects around 96 million Americans, with more than 80% being unaware of their condition.

These individuals have a heightened risk for Type 2 diabetes and are typically not on medication to lower their blood sugar levels, making diet an essential tool in managing their health.

The Study’s Participants

The participants in this study had blood sugar levels ranging from prediabetic to diabetic but weren’t on any diabetes medication.

The low-carb group saw their A1c levels drop 0.23% more than the usual diet group. Dorans mentioned this as a “modest but clinically relevant” decrease.

Interestingly, about half of the calories consumed by the low-carb group came from fats.

However, these fats were mostly the healthy types found in foods like olive oil and nuts, namely monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

What Does This Mean Going Forward?

While this study doesn’t prove that a low-carb diet can prevent diabetes, it does indicate the need for more research into how diet can affect the health risks associated with prediabetes and diabetes.

“We already know that a low-carb diet is used among people who have Type 2 diabetes, but there isn’t as much evidence on the effects of this diet on blood sugar in people with prediabetes,” said Dorans.

The results from this study could encourage further investigation into whether a low-carb diet could be an alternative approach for preventing Type 2 diabetes.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies that MIND diet may reduce risk of vision loss disease, and Vitamin D could benefit people with diabetic neuropathic pain.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies that Vitamin E could help reduce blood sugar and insulin resistance in diabetes, and results showing eating eggs in a healthy diet may reduce risks of diabetes, high blood pressure.

The study was published in JAMA Network Open.

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