Low-Carb Diet Improves Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes Patients

Pharmacy Times, December 2014 Heart Health, Volume 80, Issue 12

According to the results of a recent study, both a low-carbohydrate and high-fat diet and a high-carbohydrate and low-fat diet can significantly improve glycemic control and cardiovascular disease risk factors among obese patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). These improvements, however, were more pronounced among those who consumed the low-carbohydrate diet.

The study, published in the November 2014 issue of Diabetes Care, randomized obese patients diagnosed with T2DM to consume a diet very low in carbohydrates, high in unsaturated fats, and low in saturated fat, or a diet high in unrefined carbohydrates and low in fat. Patients followed the diet and a structured exercise plan for 24 weeks. Glycated hemoglobin (A1c), glycemic variability, antiglycemic medication changes, blood lipids, and blood pressure were monitored.

At the end of the study, patients in both diet groups lost similar amounts of weight. Blood pressure, fasting glucose, and cholesterol decreased in both groups but were not correlated with diet. Patients on the low-carb diet saw greater reductions in triglycerides, antiglycemic medication effects scores, and glycemic variability when compared with those on the low-fat diet. In addition, among patients with baseline A1c levels greater than 7.8% and HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) levels less than 1.29 mmol/L, those following the low-carb diet achieved greater reductions in A1c and greater increases in HDL-C levels.