Why a Low-Carb Diet Should Be the First Approach in Diabetes Treatment
- Dietary carbohydrate restriction has the greatest effect on decreasing blood glucose levels.
- During the epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes, caloric increases have been due almost entirely to increased carbohydrates.
- Benefits of dietary carbohydrate restriction do not require weight loss.
- Studies show that carbohydrate restriction is the best intervention for weight loss.
- Adherence to a low-carb diet in people with type 2 diabetics is at least as good as adherence to any other dietary interventions and is frequently significantly better.
- Replacement of carbohydrate with protein is generally beneficial.
- Dietary total and saturated fat do not correlate with risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Plasma saturated fatty acids are controlled by dietary carbohydrates more than dietary lipids.
- The best predictor of microvascular and to a lesser extent, macrovascular complications in patients with type 2 diabetes, is glycemic control (HbA1c).
- Dietary carbohydrate restriction is the most effective method of reducing serum triglycerides and increasing HDL.
- Patients with type 2 diabetes on carbohydrate restricted diets reduce and frequently eliminate medication and type 1 diabetics require less insulin.
- Intensive glucose lowering by dietary carbohydrate restriction has no side effects comparable to the effects of intensive pharmacologic treatment.
It makes sense that if carbs are creating lots of insulin, and that’s leading to weight gain, heart disease and diabetes, you want to correct the source of the problem by reducing the carbs. This approach should also apply to anyone with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol, high triglycerides and hypertension. Beware of studies that claim that low carb diets don’t work, they do and the well designed studies show that. Poorly designed studies that consider 150-200 grams per day of carbohydrate “low carb” will not show a benefit because there’s nothing “low” about 150-200 grams of carbohydrate per day. Low carb is 60-80 grams of carbohydrate per day.
Feinman RD, Pogozelski WK, Astrup A, et al. Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management: Critical review and evidence base. Nutrition. 2015;31(1):1-13. Abstract