Even a Small Reduction in Carbohydrate Intake Can Benefit Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes

Even a Small Reduction in Carbohydrate Intake Can Benefit Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes


A recent study conducted in Sweden has shown that even a moderate reduction in carbohydrate intake can help individuals with type 1 diabetes maintain their blood sugar within a healthy range. The research indicates that a moderate low-carbohydrate diet can effectively lower average blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of organ damage associated with the condition.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. Without sufficient insulin, blood sugar accumulates in the body, leading to potential organ damage. Traditionally, individuals with type 1 diabetes have been advised to follow strict diets. However, this study suggests that a moderate reduction in carbohydrate intake can still yield positive results in managing blood sugar levels.

The study, led by Sofia Sterner Isaksson, a dietician pursuing her doctoral studies at the University of Gothenburg, involved 25 men and 25 women with type 1 diabetes. The participants, with an average age of 48, were randomly assigned to either follow a traditional diet with 50% of energy from carbohydrates or a moderate low-carbohydrate diet with 30% of energy from carbohydrates. Both diets included healthy levels of fat and carbohydrates, incorporating vegetables, fiber-rich carbohydrates, unsaturated fats, nuts, seeds, and legumes. The diets were tailored to suit the individual needs of each participant.

Over a period of 16 weeks, the researchers used continuous blood sugar monitoring devices to track the participants’ blood sugar levels at least every 15 minutes. The results showed that individuals on the moderate low-carbohydrate diet spent longer periods with blood sugar levels within the target range (an average of 68 minutes per day) compared to those on the traditional diet. Additionally, the time spent with higher blood sugar levels was significantly reduced by 85 minutes per day. Importantly, the study found no adverse effects on blood pressure or cholesterol readings for either diet, and participants reported feeling slightly more satisfied with the moderate low-carbohydrate regimen. The study also showed that ketone levels remained within reasonable limits, alleviating concerns about potential adverse effects of reduced carbohydrate intake on individuals with type 1 diabetes.

The findings of this study, published in The Lancet Regional Health – Europe journal, suggest that a moderate low-carbohydrate diet can be an effective treatment option for adults with type 1 diabetes who experience elevated blood glucose levels. However, it is crucial that the diet is healthy, with a focus on the quality of fats and carbohydrates. It is also essential to ensure that the quantity of carbohydrates is not too low to guarantee the safety of individuals following this dietary approach. Healthcare providers should provide guidance and monitor individuals who choose to adopt a moderate low-carbohydrate diet.

Dr. Marcus Lind, a professor of diabetology at the University of Gothenburg and co-author of the study, highlighted the importance of conducting more studies on different dietary treatments for type 1 diabetes. The availability of data demonstrating the effectiveness and safety of a moderate low-carbohydrate diet for adults with type 1 diabetes is significant and can contribute to improved management of the condition.

In conclusion, this Swedish study suggests that even a modest reduction in carbohydrate intake can benefit individuals with type 1 diabetes by helping them maintain their blood sugar levels within a healthy range. It emphasizes the importance of a balanced and healthy diet, and healthcare providers should offer support and monitoring to individuals considering dietary changes. Further research in this area is necessary to explore additional dietary treatment options for type 1 diabetes.

1.Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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