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A Low-Carb Diet Shown to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

Study Proves Very Low Carb Diet is Effective


Updated June 19, 2014

A Low-Carb Diet Shown to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes
Ali Taylor/Stock.xchng
Does a low-carb diet really help control or even reverse type 2 diabetes? According to a study from Duke University, a very low-carb diet (20 grams or less a day) gave participants better blood sugar control and more effective weight loss than participants who followed a low-glycemic reduced calorie diet.

Eighty-four people with obesity and type 2 diabetes took part in the study. During the study, both groups also had the supportive benefit of group meetings, nutritional supplementation and an exercise program. After 6 months, the low-carb group had lower hemoglobin A1c results, lost more weight, and 95% were able to reduce or even totally eliminate their diabetes medications. The reduced calorie group did lose weight, and 62% of them were also able to reduce or eliminate their medications, but the low-carb diet group had better overall results.

"It's simple," says Eric Westman, MD, director of Duke's Lifestyle Medicine Program and lead author of the study. "If you cut out the carbohydrates, your blood sugar goes down, and you lose weight which lowers your blood sugar even further. It's a one-two punch."

The low-carb diet used in the study is very restrictive on carb intake, with participants eating under 20 grams of carbs a day. This may be difficult for many people to stick to, but as Dr. Westman says, "This is a therapeutic diet for people who are sick," says Westman. "These lifestyle approaches all have an intensive behavioral component. In our program, people come in every two weeks to get reinforcements and reminders. We've treated hundreds of patients this way now at Duke, and what we see clinically and in our research shows that it works."

Keep in mind that there is more to these results than just diet. Both groups also exercised regularly as well. Diet combined with exercise is the cornerstone of diabetes management. Before starting any diet program, please talk with your doctor, or healthcare provider.


(Jan. 5, 2009). Low-Carb Diets Prove Better at Controlling Type 2 Diabetes . Retrieved February 19, 2009, from DukeHealth.org Web site: http://www.dukehealth.org/HealthLibrary/News/low_carb_diets_prove_better_at_controlling_type_2_diabetes[/link">
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