A low-carbohydrate diet will improve the lives of those with type 2 diabetes; according to a new diet study. A low-carb diet has been found to improve, not just blood sugar levels, as one would expect, but also there was an improvement in physical functions, bodily pain and general health.

These results were found following a 2 year clinical trial in patients with type 2 diabetes. The study was led by Dr Hans Guldbrand, general practitioner, and Fredrik Nystrom, professor of internal medicine at Linköping University. The results were originally published in the journal Diabetologia, a journal which publishes research which strictly pertains to diabetes. University

The main aim of the study was to find the effect of a low-carbohydrate diet compared to a low-fat die when concerning blood glucose and blood lipids, meaning blood fats. A group of 61 patients were gathered and were split randomly in to two groups and given strict diet instructions for the duration of the study. One group was being directed to eat a low-fat diet whilst the other ate the low-carbohydrate diet.

It was found that whilst both groups significantly reduced the weight of the participants, the low-carbohydrate diet presented a much improved effect on bloody glucose.

The effects of both the low-carbohydrate diet as well as the low-fat diet on wellbeing have been analysed in a study led by Associate Professor Margareta Bachrach-Lindström. A standardised analysis was performed following the SF-36 questionnaire, which is a self-reported survey of patient health, was conducted.

After 12 months in the trial, the low-carbohydrate group improved in regard to the physical health; which would include physical function, bodily pain and general health. No improvements were seen in the low-fat group other than the weight loss apparent in both groups. Mental health was similarly unaffected by both of the diets throughout the course of the study.

“The result is interesting; it provides an additional argument that a low-carbohydrate diet is beneficial in diabetes. We also found no adverse effects on mental health with the low-carbohydrate diet, which an earlier study had indicated,” said Dr Guldbrand.

The interviews following the conclusion of the study found that both groups of patients found it difficult to adhere to the prescribed diets when they were not eating at home or if the whole family did not follow the same regiment. Both groups expected health gains by adhering to given dietary advice. The low-carbohydrate diet group expressed that it could be difficult to refrain from eating starchy foods, such as potatoes and pasta. The diet for the low-fat group was described as relatively inexpensive and tasty. Benefits of the low-carbohydrate diet were that the patients felt less hungry and that their appetite for sweets disappeared.

This piece of research continues to suggest that low-carbohydrate diets are effective not only in losing weight but also in improving the bodies’ functionality even when diabetes is present. There is also some suggestion that the diet would be effective across all demographics for the weight loss alone, never mind the potential for a better all-around health. An investment in meat, fish, fruit and vegetables may well make the change we all need to be healthier; not just for the short term, but for the rest of our lives.