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Just 12 weeks on a low-carb diet ‘can beat diabetes’

Just 12 weeks on a low-carb diet ‘can beat diabetes’: Cutting carbohydrates may increase chances of remission in type 2 patients, study finds

  • Low-carb diet may increase the chances of remission of type 2 diabetes 
  • Researchers said low-carb approach could be more effective than a low-fat diet
  • Over half the trials included participants using insulin to control glucose levels 

A low-carb diet may increase the chances of remission of type 2 diabetes, a study has found.

Patients who reduced carbohydrates for 12 weeks were 32 per cent more likely to be in remission six months later compared with those on other recommended diets.

Researchers said the low-carb approach could be more effective than a low-fat diet, commonly recommended for type 2 diabetes sufferers.

They analysed data from 23 trials involving 1,357 participants.

More than half the trials included participants using insulin to control glucose levels. They were primarily overweight or obese, with an age range of 47 to 67.

A low-carb diet may increase the chances of remission of type 2 diabetes, a study has found (Stock image) 

The researchers said: ‘Type 2 diabetes remains a significant and worsening problem worldwide, despite many pharmaceutical developments.

‘Structured diets are recognised as an essential component of treating diabetes but confusion remains about which to choose.’

The team from the Texas A&M University looked at the effectiveness of a low-carb diet, defined as less than 26 per cent of daily calories coming from foods such as pasta, bread and rice, and compared it with a mostly low-fat diet.

Participants followed the diet for 12 weeks and were then followed up six and 12 months later.

The study, published in the BMJ, found that on average those following the low-carb diet were 32 per cent more likely to be in remission half a year later compared with those on a low-fat diet.

The low-carb diet also led to increased weight loss, reduced medication use and improved body fat concentrations. However, most of the benefits appeared to have diminished after 12 months.

The authors suggest clinicians ‘might consider short-term low-carb diets for management of type 2 diabetes while actively monitoring and adjusting diabetes medication as needed’.

They added: ‘Future long term, well designed, calorie controlled randomised trials are needed to determine the effects of low-carb diets on sustained weight loss and remission of diabetes.’

The authors suggest clinicians ¿might consider short-term low-carb diets for management of type 2 diabetes while actively monitoring and adjusting diabetes medication as needed¿ (File image)

The authors suggest clinicians ‘might consider short-term low-carb diets for management of type 2 diabetes while actively monitoring and adjusting diabetes medication as needed’ (File image) 

Further studies could also analyse other dietary characteristics, for example processed versus unprocessed food, they said.

Around one over-40 in ten has type 2 diabetes in the UK. More than five million people are predicted to have diabetes by 2025.

The low-fat approach has been strongly recommended for diabetes patients but has been criticised for the high amount of carbohydrates used, which can trigger overproduction of insulin, resulting in hunger and weight gain.

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