Study confirms a very low-carb diet can help manage Type 1 diabetes
01/22/2019 // Michelle Simmons // Views

Adhering to a very low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet can help improve blood sugar control in people with Type 1 diabetes, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics. This finding was based on the results of an observational trial on children with Type 1 diabetes who follow a low-carb diet.

In the study led by Belinda Lennerz and David Ludwig of Boston Children's Hospital, researchers aimed to evaluate blood sugar control among children and adults with Type 2 diabetes who follow a very low-carbohydrate diet.

For the study, the researchers carried out an online survey of an international social media group for people with Type 1 diabetes who follow a very low-carbohydrate diet for an average of just over two years. The average carbohydrate intake of the participants was 36 grams each day. A total of 316 people, which included adults and parents of children with Type 1 diabetes, responded to the online survey.

The researchers measured the participants' hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), which is used to determine the average blood sugar levels. They also evaluated the changes in HbA1c after the self-reported beginning of following a very low-carbohydrate diet, total daily insulin dose, and adverse events. Then, they reviewed the participants' medical records and contacted their diabetes care providers.

Based on the results of the study, following a very low-carbohydrate diet significantly reduced blood sugar levels between meals. In addition, the participants exhibited a 5.7 percent drop in HbA1c levels. HbA1c levels lower than 5.7 percent are considered in the normal range, while the margin for diabetes is 6.5 percent.


With these findings, the researchers concluded that following a very low-carbohydrate diet helps control glucose levels and reduces adverse reactions in people with Type 1 diabetes. (Related: High protein, low-carb, sugarless diet helps rid young girl of depression, pain and anxiety.)

Healthy low-carb eating with diabetes

People with diabetes either lack insulin or are resistant to its effects. So, when they eat carbs, their blood sugar can spike to potentially dangerous levels. A lot of studies support following a low-carb diet for the treatment of diabetes. It can improve blood sugar control, reduce the need for medications, and reduce the risk of diabetic complications.

Studies have shown that people with diabetes experience better blood sugar control in the long run while on a carb-restricted diet. One study revealed that people with Type 2 diabetes who followed a low-carb diet for six months had better control with their blood sugar levels. Likewise, people with Type 1 diabetes who adhered to a low-carb diet saw a significant improvement in blood sugar levels throughout a four-year period.

Even before the discovery of insulin in 1921, very low-carbohydrate diets were considered standard treatment for people with diabetes.

Research has shown that consuming between 20 to 90 grams of carbohydrates per day is effective at improving blood sugar control. Nonetheless, it's still best to check your blood sugar before and after eating to find your personal carb limit.

Instead of completely eliminating carbs from your diet, choose nutrient-dense, high-fiber carb sources like vegetables, berries, nuts, and seeds. Unlike starches and sugars, a soluble or insoluble fiber that is found naturally in foods does not break down into glucose in the body and does not increase blood sugar levels.

Focusing on eating low-carb, high-quality whole foods is the healthy way of following a low-carb diet. You may eat meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, cheese, non-starchy vegetables, avocados, and olives. On the other hand, avoid foods, such as bread, pasta, cereal, corn, and other grains, starchy vegetables, legumes, milk, fruit except for berries, sweetened beverages, beer, and sugary foods.

Read more news stories and studies on controlling high blood sugar levels by going to

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