A low-carbohydrate diet lowers blood sugar in type 2 diabetes

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Once again a scientific study has shown that people with type 2 diabetes who follow a low-carbohydrate diet have lower blood sugar levels than if they eat a traditional, carbohydrate-rich diabetic diet. [Note: we’ve covered this study earlier, here]

One of the researchers behind the study, Thomas Meinert Larsen, is part of the team funded by the Dietary Science Foundation that is currently planning Europe’s largest ever study of diet for type 2 diabetes.

For years people with type 2 diabetes have been recommended to lose weight, because blood sugar levels fall as the amount of fat trapped in the body’s organs decreases. But many people find it difficult to maintain a lower weight, so in the long run this strategy most often fails.

A new study done in Denmark showed that weight loss is not necessary to control blood sugar levels. If people with type 2 diabetes instead reduce the amount of carbohydrates they eat, their blood sugar goes down anyway.

Improved blood sugar levels despite maintaining weight

In the study, 28 people with type 2 diabetes all tested two different dietary treatments, each for six weeks. One was a traditional diabetes diet, where half of the calories came from carbohydrates. The other was a moderate form of low-carbohydrate diet, with 30% of calories from carbohydrates. Both diets contained the same amount of energy, but if someone started to lose weight they were given more to eat. The goal was to see if blood sugar levels would improve even when body weight was kept stable.

”In short, we showed that it was possible. With the help of a low-carbohydrate diet, it is possible to reduce both long-term blood sugar and the amount of fat in the liver, without weight loss and without any serious side effects for the participants,” says Thomas Meinert Larsen of the University of Copenhagen, one of the researchers behind the study, which has been published in the journal Diabetologia.

The study is one of several where a low-carbohydrate diet has been proven to more effectively treat type 2 diabetes than the commonly recommended low-fat diet. However, most of these studies are too small and of too short duration to form the basis for treatment recommendations in healthcare.

The Dietary Science Foundation invests in a large-scale project

This is why the Dietary Science Foundation has financed the planning of a large-scale study of a strict low-carbohydrate diet in type 2 diabetes. The study will be conducted in five different European countries and Thomas Meinert Larsen is one of the researchers in the team. They are currently seeking funding from the EU, and the Dietary Science Foundation is keeping its fingers crossed. We hope the study will get a big grant! If larger studies can confirm the results of the smaller pilot studies, dietary advice for people with type 2 diabetes can be altered and improved worldwide. This in turn can extend the lives of millions of people and lead to huge savings in healthcare costs.

Would you like to help the researchers launch this important study and support our long-term effort to stop the epidemic of type 2 diabetes that is sweeping the world? Follow this link to become one of the Dietary Science Foundation’s monthly donors. Thank you!

Also published on Dietary Science Foundation.

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