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.