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Low carb diet an antidote to type 2 diabetes?

An Australian researcher has contributed to a new study demonstrating that lower carbohydrate consumption can potentially put type 2 diabetes into remission.

Professor Grant Brinkworth, research scientist from Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, was part of the study that found after six months, patients who followed a low carb diet containing less than 26% of daily calories from carbohydrates, achieved greater rates of type 2 diabetes remission than those who followed other diets traditionally recommended for managing the disease.

Brinkworth said the findings, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ),  showed those who better adhered to the low carb dietary approach had the greatest health improvements.

“Building on existing research, this study underscores that a low carb diet can achieve greater weight loss and is more effective in reducing diabetes medication and improving blood glucose control,” he said.

“However, this study has gone one step further in showing the low carb dietary approach to be effective in driving type 2 diabetes into remission.”

It is estimated one in 11 adults globally have diabetes and that it is responsible for approximately 11% of deaths annually, making it one of the greatest health challenges of the 21st century. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form, with 90-95% of all cases.

Additionally, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of preventable blindness in working age people in Australia. About 1.7 million Australians have the diabetes and, of these, more than 300,000 (between 25-35%) have some degree of diabetic retinopathy, according to the Macular Disease Foundation Australia.

“We know that lifestyle factors such as what we eat play a major part in determining our risk to type 2 diabetes. The good news is these lifestyle choices are within our control to change,” Brinkworth said.

He said the study’s findings underlined the need for diet support tools.

“These results show low carb diets can be a really effective dietary approach for type 2 diabetes management, however, the challenge is to provide patients with easy-to-use support tools and convenient product solutions to help them adhere to it long-term to gain these greater health improvements,” Brinkworth said.

“In the future, having clearer a definition of type 2 diabetes remission and more rigorous studies examining the long-term safety and satisfaction of low carb diets will also help to confirm the strength of this therapeutic approach.”

In an August 2018 position statement, Diabetes Australia stated for people with type 2 diabetes, there is reliable evidence that lower carb eating can be safe and useful in lowering average blood glucose levels in the short term (up to 6 months). It can also help reduce body weight and help manage heart disease risk factors such as raised cholesterol and raised blood pressure.

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