Low-carb, high-protein diet helps control diabetes: CSIRO

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 15th February 2016

DiabetesA diet and exercise program based around low-carbohydrate, high protein eating can be highly effective in helping to control Type 2 diabetes according to researchers from the CSIRO and South Australian universities.


The result of a two year research collaboration between the CSIRO, Adelaide University, Flinders University and the University of South Australia scientists found an average 40 per cent reduction in medication levels in those who followed the diet.


The research results are ground breaking,” Associate Professor Grant Brinkworth, principal research scientist at the CSIRO said.


“Health professionals have been divided over the best dietary approach for managing type 2 diabetes, and the ongoing uncertainty is a hotly debated topic amongst clinicians and researchers.


“The most amazing benefit of the low carbohydrate diet was the reduction in the patient’s medication levels, which was more than double the amount than the volunteers following the lifestyle program with the high-carbohydrate diet plan.


“Some of the participants managed to cease their medications altogether, and many described the study as life changing,” said Professor Brinkworth.


Traditional dietary approaches could be outdated


“This research shows that traditional dietary approaches for managing type 2 diabetes could be outdated, we really need to review the current dietary guidelines if we are serious about using the latest scientific evidence to reduce the impact of the disease,”   Professor Brinkworth stated.


Fellow researcher Professor Campbell Thompson from the University of Adelaide said there were also further insights on the clinical outcomes.
“The very low carbohydrate diet presented greater improvements in the blood cholesterol profile, by increasing the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol and decreasing triglyceride levels to a greater extent than the traditional high carbohydrate, low fat diet approach,” Professor Thompson said.


“Both diets achieved similar reductions in bad (LDL) cholesterol levels, often a concern with some low carbohydrate diets.


“The variability of blood glucose levels throughout the day is also emerging as a strong independent risk factor for diabetes complications. In our study the very low carbohydrate diet was more effective in reducing the number and levels of blood glucose spikes and dips, flattening the blood glucose profile over a 24-hour period,” Professor Thompson stated.


Type 2 diabetes is one of the greatest global health challenges of the 21st century, with more than 350 million people suffering from the condition.


Obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes and given the growing increases in obesity and sedentary lifestyles globally, the world is facing a veritable tsunami of the disease.


In Australia alone, an estimated 800,000 Australian adults have type 2 diabetes with many more undiagnosed. In 2008-09, of the estimated $1507 million spent on the health care of diabetes in Australia, $490 million was spent on diabetes-related medications.


Based on the findings from this study, implementing a lifestyle program that incorporates this effective eating pattern at a national level could save up to $200 million annually through reductions in diabetes-related medication expenditure alone.