Patients with Type 2 diabetes improve their ability to regulate blood sugar levels if they eat food with reduced carbohydrate content and an increased share of protein and fat, according to new research from Denmark.
The findings are contrary to conventional dietary recommendations for patients with Type 2 diabetes.
A central aspect of the treatment of Type 2 diabetes is the patient’s ability to regulate their blood sugar levels, and new research now indicates that a diet with a reduced carbohydrate content and an increased share of protein and fat improves the patient’s ability to regulate his or her blood sugar levels compared with the conventional dietary recommendations.
In addition, researchers found it reduces liver fat content and also has a beneficial effect on fat metabolism in Type 2 diabetics.
How was the Study Conducted?
Twenty-eight participants with Type 2 diabetes participated in the study over a total period of 12 weeks.
For six weeks, the patients were given a conventional diabetes diet with high carbohydrate content, and, for the other six weeks, they were given a diet with reduced carbohydrate content, high protein content and moderately increased fat content.
The patients were given the diet types in random order.
Compared with partipants on a conventional diabetes diet, those on a carbohydrate-reduced high-protein diet saw reduced HbA1c and hepatic fat content in weight stable individuals with Type 2 diabetes.
“The purpose of our study was to investigate the effects of the diet without interference from a weight loss. For that reason, the patients were asked to maintain their weight,” explains Dr. Thure Krarup, from the Department of Endocrinology at Bispebjerg Hospital.
“Our study confirms the assumption that a diet with a reduced carbohydrate content can improve patients’ ability to regulate their blood sugar levels – without the patients concurrently losing weight,”
Krarup says the findings are important because weight loss has been removed from the equation. “Previous studies have provided contradictory conclusions, and weight loss has complicated interpretations in a number of these studies,” Krarup adds.
Based on the growing body of evidence, Krarup indicates it might be time to rethink the dietary recommendations for patients with Type 2 diabetes.
“The study shows that by reducing the share of carbohydrates in the diet and increasing the share of protein and fat, you can both treat high blood sugar and reduce liver fat content,” he says.
He acknowledges further intensive research is needed in order to optimize dietary recommendations for patients with Type 2 diabetes, and the findings should be confirmed in large-scale, long-term controlled trials.
The findings of the study have been published in the journal Diabetologia.
The study was conducted in a partnership between the Department of Endocrinology at Bispebjerg Hospital; the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports at the University of Copenhagen; the Department of Radiology at Herlev and Gentofte Hospital; the Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University; Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research at the University of Copenhagen; the Department of Endocrinology at Amager and Hvidovre Hospitals and the Department of Medicine at Amager and Hvidovre Hospitals.
Featured image: Example of one of the trial meals with reduced carbohydrate content and an increased protein and fat content. The University of Copenhagen.
The University of Copenhagen.
- Faculty of Science University of Copenhagen. (2019, August 10). Reduced carbohydrate intake improves type 2 diabetics’ ability to regulate blood sugar. EurekAlert! Retrieved August 12, 2019, from https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-08/fos–rci080919.php