Low-carb – not low-fat – diets found to be more beneficial for diabetics, study finds


People with Type 2 diabetes will benefit more from eating a low-carb diet than following a low-fat diet, according to a review of evidence published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers from Leiden University in the Netherlands found that low-carb diets reduce glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and decrease fasting glucose levels more than low-fat diets.

This was concluded after the researchers assessed the findings of 36 trials that compared both diets over a period of four weeks or more in adults with Type 2 diabetes. The low-carb approach included those with a carbohydrate consumption of 40 percent or under of energy intake, while low-fat interventions included those with a fat intake of 30 percent or less of energy. All of the studies involved a total of 2,161 participants.

The results of the studies suggested that the low-carb interventions led to greater reductions in HbA1c compared to the low-fat diet approach in the short term. The research team also saw that those who followed a low-carb diet experienced improvements in terms of fasting glucose, triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol. However, there were no improvements in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, body weight, or blood pressure in either of the diet interventions.

The researchers also noted that 40 percent of energy from carbohydrates is still a relatively high intake of carbohydrates. Studies that had stricter carbohydrate reductions reported greater improvements.

These findings, according to the researchers, suggest that restriction of carbohydrates may be better for Type 2 diabetes patients.

Foods to eat and avoid for people with Type 2 diabetes

People with Type 2 diabetes need to choose the right foods to eat to help lower their blood sugar and keep it stable. It is important to understand how different foods affect blood sugar levels. For one, carbohydrate consumption should be limited in people with Type 2 diabetes because carbs are broken down into glucose in the blood more rapidly compared to other types of food. In turn, this causes blood sugar to spike, which can potentially result in hyperglycemia.

The food items that contain the highest amounts of carbohydrates include grains, bread, pasta, milk, sweets, fruit, and starchy vegetables. Meanwhile, protein and fats, although they do not directly affect blood sugar levels, should be consumed in moderation in order to keep calories down and keep a healthy weight. Some superfoods that are good for people with Type 2 diabetes include:

  • Beans, like kidney, pinto, navy, or black beans
  • Berries, like blueberries and strawberries
  • Citrus fruit, such as grapefruits, oranges, lemons, and limes
  • Dark green leafy vegetables, like spinach, collards, chard and kale
  • Fatty fish, like salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, trout, and tuna
  • Nuts and seeds, like walnuts and flax seeds
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tomatoes (pureed, raw, or in a sauce)
  • Whole grains, such as whole oats, quinoa, whole grain barley, and farro

An ideal meal plate for Type 2 diabetes should look like this: Half of the plate should be filled with non-starchy vegetables, while the other half should be filled with other healthy food items, such as whole grains, nuts and seeds, lean protein, fat-free or low-fat organic dairy, and small portions of fresh fruits and healthy fats. You can also include fiber as getting more fiber can also reduce the symptoms of diabetes and aid in weight loss. (Related: Fiber found to be an underutilized treatment for type-2 diabetes.)

Read more news stories and studies on managing diabetes naturally by going to DiabetesScienceNews.com.

Sources include:

Diabetes.co.uk

EverydayHealth.com

Diabetes.org



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