A new study has added an important new insight to the debate about the best diet to control type 2 diabetes, finding that diabetics who followed a low-carb diet both lost weight and reduced the levels of inflammatory molecules in their blood.
Since inflammation is thought to play a role in the progression of diabetes, these results suggest that a low-carb diet may improve the health of diabetics not just by shedding pounds, but by acting directly on the disease process. Although people with type 2 diabetes are generally advised to “eat better,” there are huge gaps in our knowledge about what foods are really the most effective choices to help this condition.
Researchers at Linköping University in Sweden set out to compare two commonly recommended diets for diabetics: low-fat (55-60% of energy from carbohydrates) vs. low-carb (20% of energy from carbohydrates). They asked people with type 2 diabetes to follow either the low-fat or low-carb diet for six months, and measured their weight as well as markers of inflammation. At the end of the experiment, the two groups had lost similar amounts of weight, but only the people eating a low-carb diet had a reduction in inflammation. The study was small, involving only 59 people, but hopefully these preliminary results can be built upon to help develop dietary advice for diabetics that really works.
(Source: Annals of Medicine 2014 doi:10.3109/07853890.2014.894286.)