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Dietary carbohydrate restriction to manage type 2 diabetes

Researchers review the evidence for monitoring carbohydrates as the first mode of treatment for type 2 diabetes.

According to the World Health Organization, around 422 million people suffer from diabetes. Although genetic factors play a vital role in the onset of disease, lifestyle factors also play a significant role. Previous research has suggested that diet, exercise, and regular screening can delay the early onset of the disease.

In a recent review, published in the journal Nutrition, researchers highlighted the significance of dietary carbohydrate control as the first approach to treat type 2 diabetes. The premise is that limiting carbohydrate intake lowers the blood sugar levels and eliminates the need for medications, thereby preventing the side effects caused by extensive pharmacological treatments.

The researchers supported the analysis based on twelve points of evidence showing the link between dietary carbohydrate restriction and diabetes. Hyperglycemia (an increase in blood glucose levels) is a primary characteristic of diabetes, therefore, carbohydrate restriction directly affects blood glucose levels. Carbohydrate restriction simultaneously causes weight loss, given that most people have a hard time losing weight, which in turn prevents obesity and other associated risks. According to the researchers, carbohydrate restriction is the best intervention among all dietary interventions including a low-fat diet, specifically with type 2 diabetes patients, and is beneficial when carbohydrates are replaced with proteins. They also report that dietary carbohydrate restriction controls plasma saturated fats, increases high-density lipoproteins (HDL), decreases triglycerides, and improves the efficiency of predicting risks of cardiovascular diseases. In addition, carbohydrate restriction allows type 2 diabetes patients to eliminate or reduce medications, thereby eliminating the risks of side effects caused by pharmacological treatments.

The current efforts have been unsuccessful to stop the rise in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes. This review sheds light on the significance of dietary carbohydrate restriction based on well-documented research and suggests that the associations between diabetes, diet, obesity, and cardiovascular disease should be studied more closely.


Written by Sakina Bano Mendha



Feinman, R. D., Pogozelski, W. K., Astrup, A., Bernstein, R. K., Fine, E. J., Westman, E. C., … Worm, N. (2015). Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management: Critical review and evidence base. Nutrition, 31(1), 1–13. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2014.06.011

Hall, K. D., Bemis, T., Brychta, R., Chen, K. Y., Courville, A., Crayner, E. J., … Yannai, L. (2015). Calorie for Calorie, Dietary Fat Restriction Results in More Body Fat Loss than Carbohydrate Restriction in People with Obesity. Cell Metabolism, 22(3), 531. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2015.08.009

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay



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