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Low carb and higher fat diets for diabetes patients

The theory behind a low-carbohydrate and higher fat diets have long been questioned and researched by scientists looking for the ideal diet to help people lose weight, but have also been considered as a type of dietary control for those with diabetes.


A team at The Second University of Naples compared the effects of two calorie restricted diets on participants with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes. Whilst the calorie restriction was kept the same for both groups, the food intake was significantly different. Patients following the lower-carb Mediterranean style diet were told to include plenty of vegetables, whole grain foods instead of starchy ones, and to replace most red meat with white. 30% of their daily calorie intake should have been from fat, in particular, olive oil. The participants which were dieting with a higher carb but lower fat intake had less detailed instructions but were required to limit fatty and sugary foods to only 30% of their daily calorie restriction.

Results showed that the dieters with the lower carb but higher fat diet had better glycated haemoglobin levels (HbA1c) and managed to maintain the diet for longer periods of time. Alongside their assessment of the dieters and their food intake, the team also measured the length of time it took for the participants to then need diabetes medication. For the low fat but higher carbs group, it look 6.1 years, but for the lower carbs and higher fat group, it took 8.1 – a significant difference- and within the first year, up to 15% of the low carb group had partial or complete remission whereas only 5% of the higher carb group had the same effect.

While the research found that the Mediterranean diet is healthier, the team didn’t endeavour to find out why but the lower levels of carbohydrates is likely to be significant along with the higher intake of vegetables.

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