Low-carb diets prove better at controlling type 2 diabetes

Jan 05, 2009

In a six-month comparison of low-carb diets, one that encourages eating carbohydrates with the lowest-possible rating on the glycemic index leads to greater improvement in blood sugar control, according to Duke University Medical Center researchers.

Patients who followed the no-glycemic diet experienced more frequent reductions, and in some cases elimination, of their need for medication to control type 2 diabetes, according to lead author Eric Westman, MD, director of Duke's Lifestyle Medicine Program. The findings are published online in Nutrition and Metabolism.

"Low glycemic diets are good, but our work shows a no-glycemic diet is even better at improving blood sugar control," he says. "We found you can get a three-fold improvement in type 2 diabetes as evidenced by a standard test of the amount of sugar in the blood. That's an important distinction because as a physician who is faced with the choice of drugs or diet, I want a strong diet that's shown to improve type 2 diabetes and minimize medication use."

Eight-four volunteers with obesity and type 2 diabetes were randomized to either a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet (less than 20 grams of carbs/day) or a low-glycemic, reduced calorie diet (500 calories/day). Both groups attended group meetings, had nutritional supplementation and an exercise regimen.

After 24 weeks, their glycemic control was determined by a blood test that measured hemoglobin A1C, a standard test used to determine blood sugar control in patients with diabetes. Of those who completed the study, the volunteers in the low-carbohydrate diet group had greater improvements in hemoglobin A1C. Diabetes medications were reduced or eliminated in 95 percent of the low-carbohydrate volunteers, compared to 62 percent in the low-glycemic group. The low-carbohydrate diet also resulted in a greater reduction in weight.

"It's simple," says Westman. "If you cut out the carbohydrates, your blood sugar goes down, and you lose weight which lowers your blood sugar even further. It's a one-two punch."

The diet is not easy for everybody. "This is a therapeutic diet for people who are sick," says Westman. "These lifestyle approaches all have an intensive behavioral component. In our program, people come in every two weeks to get reinforcements and reminders. We've treated hundreds of patients this way now at Duke and what we see clinically and in our research shows that it works."

Source: Duke University Medical Center

Explore further: Irish court mulls rights of dead woman vs. fetus

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Can stress management help save honeybees?

Nov 24, 2014

Honeybee populations are clearly under stress—from the parasitic Varroa mite, insecticides, and a host of other factors—but it's been difficult to pinpoint any one of them as the root cause of devast ...

Study reveals good news about the GI of rice

Jul 09, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Research analyzing 235 types of rice from around the world has found its glycemic index (GI) varies from one type of rice to another with most varieties scoring a low to medium GI.

Recommended for you

Irish court mulls rights of dead woman vs. fetus

12 hours ago

A lawyer representing a 17-week-old fetus living inside the clinically dead body of its mother told a Dublin court Wednesday that the unborn child's right to life trumps the woman's right to a dignified death.

Trends in indoor tanning among high school students

Dec 23, 2014

While indoor tanning has decreased among high school students, about 20 percent of females engaged in indoor tanning at least once during 2013 and about 10 percent of girls frequently engaged in the practice by using an indoor ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

JerryPark
not rated yet Jan 05, 2009
Excellent study. It has been difficult (and will probably remain so) to convince dietitians that the best therapy for type II diabetes is sharply reducing or eliminating the carbohydrates which fuel the condition.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.