Low-carb diet improves blood sugar control in diabetes

September 29, 2004 in Diabetes & Diabetes Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News

Low-carb diet improves blood sugar control in diabetes

Following a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet for five weeks led to a marked reduction in blood sugar levels in patients with untreated type 2 diabetes, according to the results of a small study from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. However, further studies are needed to evaluate the long-term effects of such a diet.

The findings stem from a study of eight men with type 2 diabetes. For five weeks, the subjects consumed a diet with a carbohydrate to protein to fat ratio of either 20:30:50 (test diet) or 55:15:30 (comparison diet). After a five-week break, the subjects then switched to the other diet for five weeks.

At follow-up, the average 24-hour glucose level and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) percentages were lower after the test diet than after the control diet. HbA1c levels, a marker for long-term blood sugar control, were still falling at the end of the test-diet phase.

Another change associated with the test diet included decreased insulin levels. However, no changes in cholesterol levels were observed.

The researchers concluded that the study findings suggest that this high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet can "dramatically reduce" 24-hour glucose concentrations people with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes.

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