To Your Health
November, 2022 (Vol. 16, Issue 11)
Low Carb for Diabetes Prevention
By Editorial Staff
If you or someone you know is at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, you're not alone: an estimated 96 million U.S. adults ages 18 and older are prediabetic – that's nearly 40 percent of the U.S.
population! But don't take comfort in the reality that millions of other people are in the same situation as you / a loved one. It's time to do something about it ... before prediabetes becomes full-blown diabetes. Research gives us a glimpse into how dietary changes can make a big difference.
The answer is a sustained low-carbohydrate diet, which can lower levels of hemoglobin A1C (a key biomarker of blood sugar levels). Even better, a low-carb diet can do it without medication, a common intervention for prediabetics. (even though nondrug lifestyle changes are proven to work in the vast majority of cases).
In a new study published in JAMA Network Open, researchers assigned one group of adults a low-carb diet (the intervention group), while a second group maintained their usual diet (the control group). Both patient groups had blood sugar levels ranging from prediabetic to diabetic, but were not taking medication. Patients in the low-carb group ate <40 g net carbohydrates per day for the first three months of the study and < 60 g net carbs per day for months 4-6.
At six-month follow-up, the intervention (low-carb) group had reduced their A1C levels to a greater extent than the control group. The low-carb group also lost more weight and had lower fasting glucose levels (another diabetes biomarker) compared to controls.
So, if they only ate modest carbohydrates, what did members of the low-carb group eat during the study period? According to the study, half of daily calories came from healthy (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) fats from foods such as olive oil and nuts.
Trust us when we tell you this – you don't want type 2 diabetes; and you don't want to have to take medication every day to (hopefully) control it. As this study (and many others) suggest, managing diabetes – or avoiding it altogether – isn't about taking medication in most cases; it's as simple as improving your diet and exercise habits. The result: a lower risk of diabetes, and a big overall win for your health and wellness.