New research suggests that a low-carbohydrate can decrease diabetes medication levels by up to as much as 40%, performing better than a high-carb, low-fat diet consisting of the same calories.
Researchers from Australia and America were involved in the study, in which a low-carb diet, low in saturated fat but high in unsaturated fat, was compared to a high-carb, low-fat diet. The high-carb diet is the diet that is recommended by the NHS for diabetes management. Both diets had an equal calorie intake.
115 volunteers who suffered from type 2 diabetes who were also considered obese were randomised to either a high-carb or low-carb diet. The volunteers on the low-carb diet were eating less than 50g carbohydrate per day, they were also getting their fat content from nuts, avocado and low-fat dairy.
On the other hand, those on a high-carb diet ate around 180g carbohydrate per day.The study lasted for a year and all the volunteers experienced a weight loss of around 10kg, both groups also saw a reduction in their cholesterol levels. The low-carb diet improved HDL (good cholesterol) levels, while the high-carb diet led to reductions in LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.
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The biggest result was that the volunteers in the low-carb diet group, were able to reduce their medication levels by 40% - the was measured using the diabetes medication score.
Low-carb dieters saw a reduction of 0.5 arbitrary units compared to a smaller reduction of 0.2 units in the high-carb, low-fat group. By reducing medication levels, type 2 diabetes is less likely to develop as quickly.
The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Professor Grant Brinkworth, School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, said: "The most amazing benefit of the low carbohydrate diet was the reduction in the patient's medication levels, which was more than double the amount than the volunteers following the lifestyle program with the high-carbohydrate diet plan.
"This research shows that traditional dietary approaches for managing type 2 diabetes could be outdated, we really need to review the current dietary guidelines if we are serious about using the latest scientific evidence to reduce the impact of the disease."
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