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Scaling down carbohydrate consumption revamps type 2 diabetics' ability to regulate blood sugar

Washington D.C. , Aug 14 : A recent study has found that reduction in the consumption of carbohydrate content in food and increasing the intake of protein and fat can revamp the ability to regulate blood sugar levels of the patients having type 2 diabetes. Surprisingly the conclusion is totally opposite to what is proposed to a person having type 2 diabetes.

The study was published in the journal 'Diabetologia'.

According to the Danish Health Authority, up to 85 per cent of patients newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight and they are typically advised to follow a diet focused on weight loss containing fewer calories than they burn, low-fat content and a high content of carbohydrates with a low 'glycaemic index' (which indicates how quickly a food affects blood sugar levels).

The research jointly conducted by Bispebjerg Hospital, Aarhus University and the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports at the University of Copenhagen revealed that a diet with a reduced carbohydrate content and an increased share of protein and fat improves the patient's ability to regulate his or her blood sugar levels compared with the conventional dietary recommendations. In addition, it reduces liver fat content and also has a beneficial effect on fat metabolism in type 2 diabetics.

"The purpose of our study was to investigate the effects of the diet without 'interference' from weight loss. For that reason, the patients were asked to maintain their weight. Our study confirms the assumption that a diet with a reduced carbohydrate content can improve patients' ability to regulate their blood sugar levels -- without the patients concurrently losing weight," explains Senior Consultant, DMSc Thure Krarup, MD, from the Department of Endocrinology at Bispebjerg Hospital.

"Our findings are important, because we've removed weight loss from the equation. Previous studies have provided contradictory conclusions, and weight loss has complicated interpretations in a number of these studies," he added.

Based on the growing body of evidence, we might rethink the dietary recommendations for patients with type 2 diabetes, stresses Thure Krarup.

"The study shows that by reducing the share of carbohydrates in the diet and increasing the share of protein and fat, you can both treat high blood sugar and reduce liver fat content. Further intensive research is needed in order to optimise our dietary recommendations for patients with type 2 diabetes," says Thure Krarup, stressing that the findings should be confirmed in large-scale, long-term controlled trials.

The study forms part of CutDM, which supported by a grant of DKK 4 million from Arla Food for Health examines whether a diet with reduced carbohydrate content and increased protein and fat content improves type 2 patients' blood sugar regulation.

28 patients with type 2 diabetes participated in the study over a total period of 12 weeks. For six weeks, the patients were given a conventional diabetes diet with high carbohydrate content, and, for the other six weeks, they were given a diet with reduced carbohydrate content, high protein content and moderately increased fat content. The patients were given the diet types in random order.

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Scaling down carbohydrate consumption revamps type 2 diabetics' ability to regulate blood sugar


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