The Scientific Evidence in Favor of Low Carb for the Prevention and Treatment of Diabetes Continues to Build

The American Diabetes Association has opened the floodgates by finally admitting that low-carbohydrate diets are “as effective for weight management as low-fat.” This dramatic turn-around was part of its 2008 clinical practice recommendations. The headline on Adam Campbell’s story about the ADA’s lukewarm endorsement was, “Apparently, Hell Just Froze Over.” Here’s the link for Adam’s article:

Now that people have officially been given permission to try a diet that naturally lowers blood glucose and insulin levels, there will be no going back. It will be proof enough when symptoms improve or disappear altogether, but the real revelation will come when they experience the other benefits of a low-carb/high-fat diet, such as an improvement in lipid profiles, weight loss, and a reduction in the markers for inflammation.

The scientific evidence in favor of carb restriction for the prevention and treatment of diabetes has been growing, and finally someone is listening. Here are several studies that have been released in the last few months:

1. A study published in the January 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association assessed the effects of restricting carbohydrates in the management of diabetes. The analysis included data from 13 individual studies in which lower-carb diets were compared to higher-carb diets. The lower-carb diets used in these experiments varied in carbohydrate content from 4 to 45 percent, so while some were actually low-carb, others were only slightly lower than conventional diets.

The lower-carb diets led to significant improvements in blood glucose levels, HBA1c levels, and levels of unhealthy blood fats known as triglycerides. Overall, blood sugar levels fell by 15 percent, HbA1c levels by 9.4 percent, and triglyceride levels dropped by a third compared to the higher-carb diets.

Read it here:

Source: “Restricted-Carbohydrate diets in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Meta-Analysis”
Kirk, JK., Graves, DE., et al, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Vol.108, pages 91-100, January 2008.

2. A study published in the February 2008 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition sought to determine if low-carb diets increased the risk for type 2 diabetes.

Individuals who ate diets that were the lowest in carbohydrates were not found to have an increased risk of diabetes. When all factors were accounted for, individuals with diets with the highest glycemic load were found to be about 2½ times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to those who ate diets with the lowest glycemic load. The analysis also revealed no link between the intake of animal fats and diabetes risk.

Link to the study:

Source: ”Low-carbohydrate-diet score and risk of type 2 diabetes in women”Am. J. Clinical Nutrition, Feb 2008; 87: 339 – 346, Thomas L Halton, Simin Liu, JoAnn E Manson, and Frank B Hu

3. A study published in the March 2008 Journal of Nutrition, found that a higher intake of vegetables cut the risk of type 2 diabetes by almost 30%. However, an increased consumption of fruit did not show any benefits in this study of 64,191 middle-aged Chinese women.


Source: “Vegetable but not fruit consumption reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes in Chinese women,” Journal of Nutrition, Volume 138, Pages 574-580, 2008R. Villegas, X.O. Shu, Y.-T. Gao, G. Yang, T. Elasy, H. Li, W. Zheng

4. Here’s a study that was published in the February 2008 issue of Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. Its aim was to assess the long-term effect of loose restriction of carbohydrate intake compared to a conventional diet in type 2 diabetes.

One hundred and thirty-three outpatients took part in the study. After two years, the participants on the conventional diet showed no change in glycemic control, body mass index, serum cholesterol, and dosage of diabetes medications. The reduced carbohydrate group showed significant improvement in HbA1c levels, a decrease in BMI, a reduction in medications, and significantly improved serum cholesterol profiles.

You can read it here:

Source: “Long-term effects of a diet loosely restricting carbohydrates on HbA1c levels, BMI and tapering of sulfonylureas in type 2 diabetes: A 2-year follow-up study,”Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, Volume 79, Issue 2, February 2008, Pages 350-356,
Hajime Haimoto, Mitsunaga Iwata, Kenji Wakai, Hiroyuki Umegaki

Here’s another bit of encouraging news, two long-time, low-carb advocates are among the five nominees for Diabetic Educator of the Year: Dr. Mary C. Vernon, president of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians, and Dr. Richard Bernstein. Take a bow; you both deserve to win.

“My first line of treatment is to have patients remove carbohydrates from their diets. This is often all it takes to reverse their symptoms, so that they no longer require medication.” Dr. Mary C. Vernon

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Judy Barnes Baker

The working title for my first book was, “You’ll Never Know What You Are Missing.” It summed up my goal: to make eating for health synonymous with eating for pleasure. Once you discover the secret, you will find that the very best food for weight management, longevity, the treatment and prevention of disease, and over-all health and happiness is also the most sumptuous, satisfying, and indulgent way of eating the world has to offer. You are invited to the feast. Enjoy!
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