Moderate low-carb diet can benefit people with type 1 diabetes

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A new study from the University of Gothenburg has revealed that adults with type 1 diabetes can benefit from a moderate low-carbohydrate diet.

This diet, different from traditional ones, has shown promising results in controlling blood sugar levels without harming health.

The research, published in The Lancet Regional Health—Europe, stands out as the largest study of its kind. It involved participants switching between a traditional diet (50% energy from carbohydrates) and a moderate low-carbohydrate diet (30% energy from carbohydrates).

This change wasn’t extreme but was carefully monitored over 16 weeks. Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) tracked blood sugar levels every 15 minutes, ensuring detailed and reliable data.

It’s important to note that making big changes in diet, especially for those with type 1 diabetes, should be done under medical guidance.

This study focuses solely on adults, and such dietary changes are not advised for children with type 1 diabetes without professional consultation.

The Positive Outcomes

The study included 50 participants, an equal mix of men and women, averaging 48 years in age, all with type 1 diabetes. They were on insulin therapy and had higher-than-average blood sugar levels.

Both diets in the study were designed to be healthy, incorporating vegetables, fiber, unsaturated fats, nuts, seeds, and legumes, and were tailored by a dietitian for each individual.

The findings were significant. Those on the moderate low-carbohydrate diet spent more time with their blood sugar levels in the target range—an average increase of 68 minutes per day.

Additionally, the time spent with high blood sugar decreased by 85 minutes per day.

Sofia Sterner Isaksson, a doctoral student and the study’s lead author, highlights that this diet helps in maintaining blood sugar within the target range, reducing the risk of organ damage in people with type 1 diabetes.

Safety and Satisfaction

No negative effects were observed with the moderate low-carbohydrate diet. Cholesterol and blood pressure levels remained stable across both diets.

Interestingly, participants reported feeling more satisfied with the low-carbohydrate diet. Concerns about ketones, which can increase with lower carbohydrate intake, were also addressed, as their levels remained safe.

Sofia Sterner Isaksson stresses the importance of a healthy diet focusing on the quality of fats and carbohydrates. She advocates for healthcare professionals to guide and monitor patients opting for this diet.

Professor Marcus Lind, who led the study, emphasizes the need for personalized diet plans for people with type 1 diabetes, in consultation with healthcare providers.

He points out the lack of large-scale studies in this area and the significance of their findings in showing the effectiveness and safety of a moderate low-carbohydrate diet for adults with type 1 diabetes.

In summary, this study sheds light on a promising dietary approach for adults with type 1 diabetes, offering an alternative that can improve blood sugar control without adverse health effects, as long as it is undertaken with professional guidance and monitoring.

If you care about blood sugar, please read studies about why blood sugar is high in the morning, and how to cook sweet potatoes without increasing blood sugar.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies about how to eat to prevent type 2 diabetes, and 5 vitamins that may prevent complication in diabetes.

The research findings can be found in The Lancet Regional Health—Europe.

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