Low Carb Food plan Could Assist Individuals With Sort 2 Diabetes Go Into Remission

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Share on PinterestA new study looked at how a low-carb diet can help people with type 2 diabetes in the short term. People Images / Getty Images

  • A new study published Wednesday in the BMJ found that following a low-carb diet for six months was linked to higher remission rates in people with type 2 diabetes.
  • However, the benefits have likely flattened out after about a year due to the restrictive diet.
  • Lowering carbohydrate intake, along with other markers of carbohydrate intolerance or insulin resistance, can help improve blood sugar levels.

New research has shown that a low-carb diet can help some people with type 2 diabetes achieve remission.

The study, published Wednesday in the BMJ, found that strict adherence to a low-carb diet for six months was linked to higher remission rates in people with type 2 diabetes.

Eating low carb can be difficult to keep long term, and the benefits flattened out after a year.

While the results highlight the significant benefits of a short-term low-carb diet, more research is needed to better understand the long-term effects on weight loss, blood sugar levels, and quality of life.

People with type 2 diabetes are intolerant to carbohydrates, and if they overeat they can raise their blood sugar levels and need to take higher doses of insulin or diabetes medication.

To better understand the effects of a low-carb diet, the researchers analyzed data from 23 clinical trials that enrolled 1,357 patients with type 2 diabetes.

Participants were on a low-carb or very low-carb diet for at least 12 weeks.

On the low-carb diets, 26 percent of the daily calories came from carbohydrates, and on the very low-carb diet, 10 percent of the daily calories came from carbohydrates.

The health and well-being of the patients – blood sugar levels, weight loss, quality of life, and adverse health events – were assessed at six and twelve months.

The researchers found that patients who followed a low-carbohydrate diet had a higher rate of remission after six months than those who did not strictly follow a low-carbohydrate diet.

Compared to other diets, low-carb diets were associated with a 32 percent increase in diabetes remission.

Those who followed a low-carbohydrate diet also experienced weight loss, healthier body fat levels, and reduced drug use.

Dr. Minisha Sood, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, says she routinely recommends low-carb diets to her patients with type 2 diabetes.

“I find that the benefits for non-adherent individuals can diminish over time. Patients who can persevere and continue this nutritional approach usually continue to enjoy the benefits, ”Sood said.

People with type 2 diabetes are intolerant to carbohydrates.

When you lower your carbohydrate intake, it also reduces the burden on your body of overproducing insulin to cope with those carbohydrates, Sood said.

Lowering carbohydrate intake, along with other markers of carbohydrate intolerance or insulin resistance, can help improve blood sugar levels.

“A low-carb or low-carb diet may result in smaller spikes in blood sugar after you eat,” said Audrey Koltun, a registered nutritionist and certified diabetes care and education specialist at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York.

There is no one diet that is right for everyone, and severe restrictions often lead people to give up a diet.

Sood said she advises her patients to start with a meal at a time.

For example, she suggests they tackle dinner first and try to cut their carbohydrate intake by about 50 percent by swapping unhealthy, starch-packed carbohydrates for healthier sources like healthy cereals or lentils.

From there, Sood advises her patients to gradually reduce their carbohydrate intake with breakfast, lunch, and snacks.

She recommends non-starchy vegetables and low glycemic index fruits like berries. Healthy grains – like quinoa, sweet potatoes, and brown rice – and lentils are also useful sources of carbohydrates, Sood added.

Sweets and processed foods, which Sood said are often carbohydrate-based, are being swapped for healthier options.

Koltun recommends healthy fats like nuts, avocado, guacamole, hummus, and olives. Unsweetened dairy products and high-protein foods like eggs, cheese, poultry, and fish are also among the foods that Koltun includes in low-carbohydrate diets.

“After about two weeks, patients notice that they have more energy, some weight loss, have a more stable mood, and overall better well-being,” Sood said.

Keeping a food diary can help people new to a low-carb diet stay on track.

When starting a low-carb diet, it is important to work with a doctor or registered dietitian who specializes in diabetes and nutrition.

“It is important to monitor blood sugar levels and have the assistance of a doctor or other health care professional to make medication adjustments if necessary,” Sood said.

Koltun said people with type 2 diabetes should not start a low-carb diet without proper knowledge and guidance.

Not all carbohydrates affect blood sugar levels in the same way.

Instead of opting for a restrictive diet, go for the healthy and balanced low-carb, high-fiber diet that Koltun recommended.

“Nutritional deficiencies can result from drastic changes and the restriction of an entire food group in your own diet,” said Koltun. “Support and guidance and proper meal planning are required.”

Nutritional therapy for diabetes also requires a varied eating plan, added Koltun.

A specialist can personalize a diet that takes into account people’s dietary preferences, lifestyle, cultural sensitivities, and food insecurity.

New research suggests that a short-term low-carb diet can help people with type 2 diabetes achieve remission. Decreasing carbohydrate intake can also lead to increased weight loss, healthier body fat levels, and lower drug consumption. More research is needed to investigate the long-term effects of a low-carb diet on blood sugar levels, body fat, and quality of life.