Low Carb Diet as First Line of Defense Against Diabetes
People diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes should switch to a low-carb diet to treat their condition, say scientists. Writing in the online version of the journal, Nutrition, researchers from the University of Alabama and other institutions reported recently that eating a low-carbohydrate diet should be the first thing diabetics do to treat their conditions. Even type 1 diabetics, who are completely dependent on supplemental insulin, should turn to this approach to improve the effectiveness of their treatment.
Both types of diabetes are characterized by abnormally high levels of blood sugar (glucose). Reducing carb intake is one of the most effective ways to bring blood glucose levels down. In the past, experts focused on reducing fat intake. Low-fat everything has been a craze for decades. But the advice to cut fat calories was misguided, and ultimately ineffectual. On the other hand, low-carb diets yield impressive improvements in blood sugar control.
"Diabetes is a disease of carbohydrate intolerance," said study co-author Barbara Gower, Ph.D., in a press release."Reducing carbohydrates is the obvious treatment. It was the standard approach before insulin was discovered and is, in fact, practiced with good results in many institutions." The benefits don't necessarily depend on weight loss, either.
Type 2 diabetes, in particular, is presently at epidemic proportions. Not surprisingly, the rise in cases is linked to the rise in overweight and obesity. While type 1 diabetes remains largely unavoidable, type 2 diabetes develops gradually, and may be preventable—and reversible—with lifestyle changes. "For many people with Type 2 diabetes, low-carbohydrate diets are a real cure," said Gower. "They no longer need drugs. They no longer have symptoms. Their blood glucose is normal, and they generally lose weight." The scientists noted that no one should stop taking medications, or commence any other treatment regimen changes, without consulting their doctor first.
Richard David Feinman, Wendy Knapp Pogozelski, Arne Astrup, Richard K. Bernstein, Eugene J. Fine, Eric C. Westman, Anthony Accurso, Lynda Frasetto, Samy McFarlane, Jörgen Vesti Nielsen, Thure Krarup, Barbara A. Gower, Laura Saslow, Karl S. Roth, Mary C. Vernon, Jeff S. Volek, Gilbert B. Wilshire, Annika Dahlqvist, Ralf Sundberg, Ann Childers, Katharine Morrison, Anssi H. Manninen, Hussein Dashti, Richard J. Wood, Jay Wortman, Nicolai Worm. Dietary Carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management. Critical review and evidence base. Nutrition, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.nut.2014.06.011