Low-carb diet may reduce blood sugar in prediabetes

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In a study from Tulane University, scientists found a low-carb diet can help people with unmedicated diabetes, and those at risk for diabetes, lower their blood sugar.

Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

Approximately 96 million American adults—more than 1 in 3—have prediabetes.

Of those with prediabetes, more than 80% don’t know they have it. Prediabetes puts you at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Previous research has found that low-carbohydrate diets (low-carb diets) decrease hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) among people with type 2 diabetes at least as much as low-fat diets.

However, evidence on the effects of low-carb diets on HbA1c in people with HbA1c in the range of prediabetes to diabetes is limited.

In the current study, researchers aimed to examine the effect of a low-carbohydrate diet compared with the usual diet on changes in HbA1c in people with prediabetes.

The diet intervention lasted 6 months. Participants were aged 40 to 70 years with untreated HbA1c of 6.0% to 6.9% (42-52 mmol/mol).

They were assigned to a low-carb diet intervention (target <40 net grams of carbohydrates during the first 3 months; <60 net grams for months 3 to 6) or the usual diet.

The low-carb diet group received dietary counseling.

The team found that compared with the usual diet group, the low-carb diet group had much greater reductions in HbA1c, fasting blood sugar, and body weight after 6 months.

They suggest that a low-carb diet can lead to improvements in blood sugar in people with elevated HbA1c not taking glucose-lowering medication.

But the study was unable to evaluate these effects independently of weight loss.

The researchers say that this diet if sustained, might be a useful dietary approach for preventing and treating type 2 diabetes, but more research is needed.

The study was conducted by Kirsten Dorans et al and published in JAMA Network Open.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies that flaxseed oil is more beneficial than fish oil to people with diabetes, and green tea and coffee could help reduce the death risk of diabetes.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies that blueberries strongly benefit people with metabolic syndrome, and results showing vitamin D could improve blood pressure in people with diabetes.

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