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Swedish study suggests that the low-carb diet may help obese diabetics take dietary control of their condition

by , 05 January 2017
Swedish study suggests that the low-carb diet may help obese diabetics take dietary control of their condition
As a diabetic, you already know that you can take control of your condition without taking medication by making a few lifestyle changes. For example, by exercising more and eating a balanced diet. But what about if you're obese?

Past research has suggested that obese diabetics can improve both their body weight and blood sugar levels over a six-month period by following a diet low in carbohydrates.

A new Swedish study conducted by the same scientists, published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism, backs this earlier research. The study found that the low-carb diet may in fact be one of the most effective approaches that an obese person with type 2 diabetes can take to achieve control of their condition.

Sticking to a low-carb diet for six months can improve the body weight and blood sugar levels of an obese person with type 2 diabetes

For the study, Dr Jorgen Nielsen and Dr Eva Joensson from Blekingesjukhuset, Karlshamm in Sweden followed 31 obese people with type 2 diabetes. At the start of the study, subjects had an average weight of 100.6 kg and a body mass index (BMI) of 36.1 kg per sq.m.
 
The two doctors assigned 16 of the subjects to the low-carb diet, which consisted of no more than 20% carbohydrates. The other 15 subjects continued to follow their normal diet, which was made up of 55% to 60% carbohydrates. Doctors noted that both diets were equal in calories – 1,800 calories for men and 1,600 for women.
 
After a six-month period, doctors noticed that subjects who were following the low-carb diet lost an average of 11.4 kg. They also had a reduction of BMI of 4.1 kg per sq.m. Subjects who weren’t following the low-carb diet only lost about 3.5 kg.
 
A further follow-up showed that following the low-carb diet for a 22-month period provided further benefits to the subjects. Doctors concluded that it “is an effective tool in the management in motivated obese patients with type 2 diabetes.”

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While the low-carb diet may provide benefits for obese diabetics, it’s not recommended for healthy weight loss

Before you think of making the switch to the low-carb diet just to shed those extra kilos around your waistline, hold up! Roopinder Braar, a care advisor for the British charity Diabetes UK, told NutraIngredients.com that he doesn’t recommend the low-carb diet for weight loss – even though it’s shown to be beneficial for weight loss in obese people with type 2 diabetes.
 
Braar explained, “Studies have shown that a healthy diet combined with physical activity is best for successful weight loss and is more effective than if you simply diet or exercise alone. It’s a common myth that you should cut out starchy foods like bread and potatoes to lose weight.”
 
“Reducing total carbohydrate to just 20% of total daily energy means that a greater proportion of your calories will come from fat and protein and the diet may be low in fruit and vegetables. A diet high in fat and low in fruit and vegetables is linked to heart disease. It is important that anyone with diabetes, who is trying to lose weight, should discuss it with their diabetes team who will advise them on how to lose weight safely,” he concluded.

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