The diet shown to help type 2 diabetes – patients ‘will be full and do not have to starve’
Diabetes is a life-altering condition that causes the blood sugar levels to become too high. Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1, accounting for around 90 percent of all cases. Unlike type 1, it is usually caused by lifestyle factors such as being overweight and not exercising enough.
It has long been acknowledged that eating and avoiding certain foods can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes or help manage symptoms.
For example, the NHS recommends eating plenty of fruit and vegetables while avoiding sugary foods.
But now a study has shown a specific diet that could lower both blood sugar and body fat.
The research, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet was most effective at lowering blood sugar.
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To carry out the study, 165 participants with type 2 diabetes were assigned one of two diets.
They either followed a low-carbohydrate, high fat diet or a high-carbohydrate, low fat diet for six months.
Foods high in carbohydrates include rice, pasta, bread and potatoes, while foods high in healthy fats include avocados, fatty fish and olive oil.
The subjects were also asked to eat the same number of calories equal to the energy they burned each day.
Researchers found that people on the low-carbohydrate, high fat diet lowered their haemoglobin A1c levels (average blood sugar levels) by 0.59 percent compared to those on the high-carbohydrate, low fat diet.
Those following the low carb diet also saw a greater reduction in body fat and waist circumference.
First study author and PhD student at the University of Southern Denmark, Camilla Dalby Hansen, said the diet had the potential to be “successful” as participants were left feeling “full” by this diet.
Speaking in Medical News Today, she said: “We were very surprised to see that participants on the (low-carbohydrate, high-fat) diet improved their glycemic control by 9.5 millimoles per litre (mmol/mol) (0.88 percent) and lost 5.5 kilograms even though they were eating the same amount of calories as they were used to.
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“This will hopefully mean that long-term compliance will be more successful because patients will be full and do not have to starve.”
She added: “Diet is very important in the management of type 2 diabetes.
“The patients have the possibility to control the diet themselves.
“This gives them a feeling of control and the feeling that they can do something themselves in the management of their disease.”
Healthy blood sugar levels are between 4.0 to 5.4mmol/L when fasting and up to 7.8 mmol/L two hours after eating.
For people with diabetes, blood sugar level targets are between four and seven mmol/L before eating.
And they should be under nine mmol/L for people with type 1 diabetes, and under 8.5 mmol/L for people with type 2 diabetes after eating.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Urinating more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision.
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