A recent study from Harvard suggests that if you’re managing type 2 diabetes, choosing a low-carb diet rich in plant-based foods might help you live a longer, healthier life.
The research is the first of its kind to dig deep into how different kinds of low-carb diets affect people who already have type 2 diabetes.
What’s This Study All About?
The researchers looked at data from more than 10,000 people—both men and women—who were health professionals and had developed type 2 diabetes during the course of earlier studies.
These participants filled out detailed questionnaires about their eating habits, lifestyle, and medical history every couple of years.
This information gave researchers a way to score their diets based on things like the quality of the carbohydrates they ate, as well as their intake of animal and plant-based proteins and fats.
The study, which is set to appear in an upcoming issue of Diabetes Care, is significant because it adds to our understanding of how diet can influence not just the development of type 2 diabetes, but also its progression and associated risks.
What Did They Find?
After examining 34 years’ worth of data, the study found that sticking to a low-carb diet that focuses on plant-based foods led to a 24% lower risk of dying prematurely from any cause.
People who focused on eating plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains also showed a reduced risk of dying from heart disease and cancer.
However, not all low-carb diets are created equal. The study did not find the same benefits for low-carb diets that were heavy on animal products and lower-quality carbs like sugary foods and refined grains.
Interestingly, the most significant benefits were observed in people who combined a plant-based, low-carb diet with other healthy lifestyle habits.
These included not smoking, getting regular exercise, and moderate drinking.
What Does This Mean for People with Type 2 Diabetes?
If you have type 2 diabetes, this research suggests that a low-carb diet can be beneficial—but the type of low-carb diet matters.
A diet rich in plant-based foods and high-quality carbs is associated with longer life and fewer health problems than a low-carb diet focused on animal products and low-quality carbs.
Senior researcher Qi Sun emphasizes that the study highlights the importance of diet quality in managing diabetes. “This study underscores that it’s not just about cutting carbs but choosing the right ones,” he noted.
In a nutshell, if you’re considering a low-carb diet for managing type 2 diabetes, you might want to load up your plate with more plant-based foods and high-quality carbs.
It’s always good to consult with healthcare providers for personalized advice, but this study offers a promising direction for those looking to manage their condition effectively while also increasing their chances of living a longer, healthier life.
The study was published in Diabetes Care.
For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies about 5 dangerous signs you have diabetes-related eye disease, and results showing why pomegranate is super fruit for people with diabetes.
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