Scientists from the University of Michigan found a very low-carb keto diet could help people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes control blood sugar and lose weight effectively.
Type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes, is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high.
Prediabetes means your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
Prediabetes usually occurs in people who already have some insulin resistance or whose beta cells in the pancreas aren’t making enough insulin to keep blood glucose in the normal range.
Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes are chronic diseases for which diet is an important part of treatment.
Previously, researchers found that eating a very low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet (keto diet) and changing lifestyle factors (physical activity, sleep, positive affect, mindfulness) could help overweight people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes improve blood sugar control and lose weight.
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate mainstream dietary therapy that in medicine is used mainly to treat hard-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children.
The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates.
Several studies have shown that diets may improve blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar, but they also reduce your appetite, boost weight loss, and lower triglycerides.
However, the intervention was in-person, which could be a barrier for people without the time, flexibility, transportation, social support, and/or financial resources to attend.
In the current study, researchers aimed to determine whether an online intervention based on a very low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet with lifestyle changes or an online diet program based on the American Diabetes Associations’ “Create Your Plate” diet would improve blood sugar control and other health outcomes among overweight people with type 2 diabetes.
The team asked overweight people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes to attend a 32-week online keto diet intervention, or an online diet program based on a plate method diet.
They found that at 32 weeks, people in the keto diet group reduced their HbA1c levels more than people in the control group.
HbA1c is a blood test that is used to help diagnose and monitor people with diabetes.
In addition, more than half of the people in the keto diet group lowered their HbA1c to less than 6.5% versus 0% in the control group.
The team found that people in the intervention group lost much more weight (-12.7 kg) than people in the control group (-3.0 kg).
And more people lost at least 5% of their body weight in the keto diet group versus the control group.
The researchers also found people in the keto diet group lowered their triglyceride levels more than participants in the control group.
Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood. When you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn’t need to use right away into triglycerides.
The triglycerides are stored in your fat cells. Later, hormones release triglycerides for energy between meals.
High triglycerides are often a sign of other conditions that increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, including obesity and metabolic syndrome.
It is a cluster of conditions that includes too much fat around the waist, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol levels.
Finally, the team found dropout was 8% in the keto diet group and 46% in the control group.
These findings suggest that people with type 2 diabetes can improve their blood sugar control and lose more weight after joining a very low-carb keto diet and lifestyle online program rather than a conventional, low-fat diabetes diet online program.
Thus, the online delivery of a keto diet and lifestyle recommendations may help high-risk people achieve a successful self-management of type 2 diabetes.
The research is published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research and was conducted by Laura R Saslow et al.
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