Low-carb diets better than low-fat for type 2 diabetes: Study

By Anne Bruce

- Last updated on GMT

Low-carb diets better than low-fat for type 2 diabetes: Study

Related tags Low-carbohydrate diet Nutrition

A low-carb diet may be superior to a low-fat diet in improving the health-related quality of life for type 2 diabetes sufferers, new Swedish research suggests.

The new follow up study looks at a previous clinical trial in patients with type 2 diabetes, which was led by Dr Hans Guldbrand, general practitioner, and Fredrik Nystrom, professor of internal medicine at Linköping University.

The initial study was conducted with 61 patients with diabetes at Linkoping University in Sweden.

The patients were randomised either to a low-carbohydrate diet or to a traditional low-fat diet, both with a caloric content of 1600 kcal for women or 1800 kcal for men.

That two-year clinical trial, previously published in the journal Diabetologia​, studied the effects on blood glucose and blood lipids of a low-carbohydrate diet compared to a low-fat diet.

It was found that both diet-groups reduced weight equally but the effect on blood glucose was better in the low-carbohydrate group.

Associate Professor Margareta Bachrach-Lindström has now analysed the impact of the two types of diets on wellbeing.

The new analysis was based on a 36 item questionnaire covering eight areas of health; physical functioning, role limitations due to physical problems, bodily pain, general health, vitality, social function, role limitations due to emotional problems and mental health with one final question rating health status over the year.

Improved general health

The analysis found that after 12 months in the trial, the low-carbohydrate group reported improved physical function, bodily pain and general health. No improvements were seen in the low-fat group, despite weight loss.

Mental health was similar for both groups and remained unchanged during the study period and did not differ between the groups.

The result is interesting; it provides an additional argument that a low-carbohydrate diet is beneficial in diabetes​”, commented Hans Guldbrand.

The low-fat group described the diet as easy to follow, tasty and cheap in price. The low-carbohydrate group reported they felt less hungry and were less prone to eat sweets.



Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice

DOI: 10.1016/j.diabres.2014.08.032

“Randomization to a low-carbohydrate diet advice improves health related quality of life compared with a low-fat diet at similar weight-loss in Type 2 diabetes mellitus​”

Authors: H. Guldbrand, T. Lindström, B. Dizdar, B. Bunjaku, C.J. Östgren, F.H. Nyström and M. Bachrach-Lindström.



2012; 55: 2118–2127

“In Type 2 diabetes, randomisation to advice to follow a low-carbohydrate diet transiently improves glycaemic control compared with advice to follow a low-fat diet producing a similar weight loss.”

Authors: Guldbrand, H., Dizdar, B., Bunjaku, B., Lindstrom, T., Bachrach-Lindstrom, M., Fredrikson, M. et al. 

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