A randomized controlled study of over 100 individuals with type 2 diabetes has revealed that a low-carb, high-fat, calorie-unrestricted diet helped in achieving improved glucose control and weight loss over a 6-months in comparison to a high-carb, low-fat diet.
Over 480 million individuals around the world are impacted by type 2 diabetes. Over 50% of diabetics also have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which can progress to cirrhosis and impair the function of the liver.
Previous research indicates that weight loss improves both nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and diabetes control, and carbohydrate restriction improves blood sugar level control.
For 6 months, 165 individuals with type 2 diabetes were randomly allocated to either a low-carb, high-fat diet or a high-carb, low-fat diet. Individuals in both groups were requested to consume the identical number of calories equivalent to their energy expenditure.
The low-carb diet participants were requested to consume a maximum of 20% of their calories from carbs but could consume 20-30% of their calories from protein and 50 to 60% from fat. The low-fat diet participants were requested to consume about 50% of their calories from carbs and the rest evenly divided between proteins and fats.
The researchers observed that the low-carb diet participants reduced hemoglobin A1c by 0.59% more than the low-fat diet participants, and also lost 3.8 kg more weight in comparison to the low-fat participants. The low-carb participants also lost more body fat and waist circumference was also reduced.
Both diet groups had lower triglycerides and higher HDL cholesterol at 6 months. Changes were however not sustained 3 months after the study, indicating that dietary changes need to be maintained for the effects to last.
The high fat consumption did not affect the liver in the low-carb diet group, no difference was found in the amount of inflammation or liver fat between the 2 groups.
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