Reduced carbohydrate intake helps type 2 diabetes patients regulate blood sugar
Patients with type 2 diabetes improve their ability to regulate blood sugar levels if they eat food with a reduced carbohydrate content and an increased share of protein and fat, according to a new study by researchers at Bispebjerg Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, and published in the journal Diabetologia.
The study examines whether a diet with reduced carbohydrate content and increased protein and fat content improves type 2 patients' blood sugar regulation. According to the study abstract, 28 patients with type 2 diabetes participated over a total period of 12 weeks. For six weeks, the patients were given a conventional diabetes diet with a high carbohydrate content, and, for the other six weeks, they were given a diet with a reduced carbohydrate content, high protein content, and moderately increased fat content. The patients were given the diet types in random order.
Researchers found a diet with a reduced carbohydrate content, high protein content, and moderately increased fat content improves glycemic control, the ability to regulate blood sugar, by reducing blood sugar after meals and long-term blood sugar, measured by HbA1c, which is a blood test used to measure the average blood sugar level over approximately the past two months.
A diet with a reduced carbohydrate content may be beneficial to patients with type 2 diabetes, even if it does not lead to weight loss, the researchers said.
Nutritional therapy is important to treat the type 2 diabetes optimally, but the recommendations are unclear, according to Thure Krarup, MD, senior consultant for the study and faculty at the department of endocrinology at Bispebjerg Hospital.
"The study shows that by reducing the share of carbohydrates in the diet and increasing the share of protein and fat, you can both treat high blood sugar and reduce liver fat content,” said Thure Krarup, MD, senior author of the study. “Further intensive research is needed in order to optimize our dietary recommendations for patients with type 2 diabetes.”