A low-carb diet can help lower blood sugar levels and prevent type 2 diabetes
People being treated for diabetes are often advised to eat a low-carb diet.
But does this advice apply to those who have diabetes or prediabetes but are not taking medication?
New research from Tulane University suggests that a low-carb diet may actually help these individuals lower their blood sugar.
The study, published in the JAMA Network Open, looked at two groups of people: one group was told to go on a low-carb diet, while the other group continued with their regular diet.
After six months, the low-carb diet group saw a more significant drop in their hemoglobin A1c levels, which are indicative of blood sugar levels, compared to the usual diet group.
The low-carb group also lost weight and had lower fasting glucose levels.
“A low-carb diet, if maintained, could be a useful approach to preventing and treating type 2 diabetes,” said lead author Kirsten Dorans of the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
However, she stressed that more research is needed to confirm this.
Why is that important?
Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not use insulin properly, resulting in an inability to regulate blood sugar levels.
About 37 million people in the US have diabetes, with type 2 diabetes accounting for more than 90% of these cases.
These findings are particularly important for people with prediabetes, whose A1c levels are high but not high enough to be classified as diabetic.
Prediabetes affects approximately 96 million Americans, with more than 80% unaware of their condition.
These individuals are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and typically do not take medication to lower their blood sugar levels, making diet an essential tool for health management.
The participants of the study
Blood glucose levels in the participants in this study ranged from prediabetic to diabetic, but they were not taking any diabetes medication.
In the low-carb group, the A1c value decreased by 0.23% more than in the group with a normal diet. Dorans called this a “modest but clinically relevant” decrease.
Interestingly, about half of the calories the low-carb group consumed came from fat.
However, these fats were mostly the healthy types found in foods like olive oil and nuts, namely monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
What does that mean for the future?
While this study does not prove that a low-carb diet can prevent diabetes, it does indicate that more research is needed into how diet may impact the health risks associated with prediabetes and diabetes.
“We already know that a low-carbohydrate diet is used in people with type 2 diabetes, but there isn’t as much evidence on the effects of this diet on blood sugar in people with prediabetes,” Dorans said.
The results of this study could stimulate further investigation into whether a low-carbohydrate diet could be an alternative approach to preventing type 2 diabetes.
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The study was published In JAMA network open.
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