Low carbohydrate, high fat diet to do good for Diabetes Patients

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A diet of low carbohydrate and high fat (LCHF) is said to lower the sugar levels and help in weight loss for  type 2 diabetes (T2D) patients according to a recent study. Also, it led to significantly more patients discontinuing or reducing antihyperglycemic therapies. 

The results of the study, published in the BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, suggests that the LCHF diet may be a practical and effective method to improve glycemic levels and blood sugar with several additional metabolic benefits. The LCHF diet can be considered as a viable treatment option in the management of T2D. 

Obesity is the prime factor responsible for the increasing number of T2D cases worldwide. Modest weight loss accompanied by lifestyle changes may halt the progression of prediabetes to diabetes and also reduce the levels of blood sugar in T2D patients. The standard for T2D treatment is regular physical activity, dietary modifications, and the use of antihyperglycemic medications. In lieu of the rising prevalence of T2D, conventional therapy for the disease may be adequate. Given the broad range of diets used in previous studies, an optimal diet to achieve weight loss and improve blood sugar control remains unclear. 

In randomized controlled trials and observational studies, LCHF diets have yielded promising results in managing T2D. Despite the favorable results about the LCHF diet, its precise impact on metabolism is still uncertain because macronutrient proportions were inconsistent between past studies, with carbohydrates as high as 40% of total calories, potentially diluting the impact.

Shabina Roohi Ahmed, Endocrinology, Johns Hopkins Community Physicians, Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and colleagues investigated the role of low carbohydrate, high-fat diets in improving glycemic control among diabetes patients real-world settings.

For the purpose, the researchers investigated the effects of LCHF duet compared with usual care in a community-based cohort of T2D patients. They performed a retrospective study of 49 patients who followed the LCHF diet for ≥3 months. They compared glycemic outcomes with age-matched and body mass index (BMI)-matched controls who received usual care (n=75). The primary outcome was a change in A1C from baseline to the end of follow-up. 

Key findings of the study include:

  • Compared with the usual care group, the LCHF group showed a significantly greater reduction in A1C (−1.29%) and body weight (−12.8 kg) at the end of follow-up after adjusting for age, sex, baseline A1C, BMI, baseline insulin dose.
  • Of the patients initially taking insulin therapy in the LCHF group, 100% discontinued it or had a reduction in dose, compared with 23.1% in the usual care group.
  • The LCHF group also had a significantly greater reduction in fasting blood sugar (−43.5 vs −8.5 mg/mL) compared with usual care.

In a community-based cohort of type 2 diabetes, the LCHF diet was associated with superior A1C reduction, greater weight loss and significantly more patients discontinuing or reducing antihyperglycemic therapies suggesting that the LCHF diet may be a metabolically favorable option in the dietary management of type 2 diabetes,” concluded the authors.

The study, “Effects of the low carbohydrate, high fat diet on glycemic control and body weight in patients with type 2 diabetes: experience from a community-based cohort,” is published in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.