Glucose meter device with accessories. Vegetables and healthy lifestyle

A critical review of restricted carbohydrate diets for people with diabetes has called upon health agencies to consider low carb diets as a primary treatment in all people with diabetes.

The critical review was carried out by a research team from a number of different countries that have previously studied low carb diets in people with diabetes. The recommendations in the study are listed as being applicable in type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Amongst the key points made within the review are that restricted carbohydrate diets perform significantly better at lowering blood glucose levels and HbA1c than diets which contain 45-60% of energy coming from carbohydrate, therefore following the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The review notes that improved glycemic control (blood glucose control) is the single most important factor in terms of diabetic health.

The review challenges the frequently cited reason for not advising low carb diets, which is that long term safety of the diet has been yet to be proven. The researchers counter this argument, noting that this view is conjectural and that low fat diets, which are supported by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, show consistently show decreased safety markers when compared to restricted carbohydrate diets.

The critical review, which is published in the Nutrition journal, assesses 12 of the most important implications of a diet for diabetes. A number of studies are referenced throughout the review demonstrating the following increased benefits of low carb diets:

  • Improved blood glucose levels (lower A1c results)
  • Improved effects on weight management
  • Lower triglyceride levels
  • Higher HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Lower dependence on medication

The critical review calls upon health agencies and governments to review their dietary recommendations and consider restricted carbohydrate diets as a primary method of diabetes treatment. The researchers also urge the health agencies to include “vigorous cross-examinations” of the effects of diet.