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Diabetes risk can be reduced by reducing carbohydrate intake: Study

by Vaishali Sharma

According to recent Tulane University study, a low-carb diet can help patients with uncontrolled diabetes and lower blood sugar levels in those at risk of acquiring diabetes.
The research, which was published in the journal JAMA Network Open, examined two groups: one that was allocated to a low-carb diet and another that stayed on their regular diet. When compared to the control group, the low-carb diet group experienced higher declines in haemoglobin A1c, a blood sugar level marker, after six months. The group that followed a low-carbohydrate diet likewise lost weight and had reduced fasting glucose levels.

“The crucial message is that, if followed consistently, a low-carbohydrate diet may be a beneficial therapy for preventing and treating Type 2 diabetes,” said lead author Kirsten Dorans, associate professor of epidemiology at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
Diabetes affects around 37 million Americans and is caused by the body’s inability to effectively utilise insulin and manage blood sugar levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, type 2 diabetes accounts for more than 90% of those cases (CDC).

Type 2 diabetes may have a negative influence on quality of life by causing symptoms such as impaired vision, numb hands and feet, and fatigue, as well as other major health conditions such as heart disease, eyesight loss, and kidney disease.
The study’s findings are especially noteworthy for those with prediabetes, who have A1c values that are higher than usual but not high enough to be categorised as diabetic. According to the CDC, around 96 million Americans have prediabetes, and more than 80% of individuals with prediabetes are unaware of it. Those with prediabetes are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, or strokes and are less likely to take blood sugar-lowering drugs, making a balanced diet even more important.

Participants in the research had blood sugar levels ranging from prediabetic to diabetic and were not taking diabetes medication. A1c readings dropped 0.23% more in the low-carb group than in the regular diet group, which Dorans described as “small but clinically meaningful.” Importantly, lipids accounted for around half of the calories consumed by the low-carb group, but they were primarily beneficial monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in foods such as olive oil and almonds.
The study, according to Dorans, does not establish that a low-carb diet prevents diabetes. However, it does pave the way for more study into ways to reduce the health risks of those with prediabetes and diabetes who are not being treated with medication.

“We already know that a low-carbohydrate diet is one dietary option utilised among patients with Type 2 diabetes,” Dorans said, “but there isn’t as much research on the impact of this diet on blood sugar in persons with prediabetes.” “Future research might be conducted to see whether this dietary approach could be an alternate option for Type 2 diabetes prevention.”

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