"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

A low-carbohydrate weight loss program helps lower blood sugar levels in individuals with prediabetes.

For most individuals, there is no such thing as a single healthy method to eat, although there are. Healthy eating and eating patterns. Yet for individuals with prediabetes, a low-carb weight loss program can quickly bring elevated A1C levels back to a healthy range, a trial found. JAMA Network Open.It turns out.

Prediabetes affects an estimated 96 million American adults. This condition is characterised by higher than normal blood sugar levels, and puts people liable to developing full-blown diabetes.

What foods were study participants asked to eat — or avoid?

This randomized clinical trial — considered the gold standard in scientific research — enrolled 150 older adults with untreated prediabetes or less severe diabetes. All were chubby (average BMI 35); About three-quarters were women and 59 percent were black. Over six months, half were randomly assigned to a low-carb weight loss program and repeated dietary counseling, while the opposite half continued to eat their usual weight loss program.

During the primary three months, low-carb participants must keep their every day carbohydrate levels below 40 grams – concerning the amount of carbohydrates in an English muffin and an apple. During 4 to 6 months, their carbohydrate limit was lower than 60 grams per day.

The researchers advisable that participants get protein and healthy fats by eating non-starchy vegetables, fish, poultry, lean meats, eggs, olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, Greek yogurt, low-carb milk, and small amounts of cheese. Focus on fat. They were advised to limit or avoid other dairy, fruit, beans, legumes and grains. Low-carb participants were supplied with quite a lot of foods throughout the study, including olive oil, green beans, tomatoes, tuna, non-sugar sweeteners, nuts, and low-carb bars and shakes.

What did the study find?

All participants underwent blood tests at three and 6 months into the trial. Compared to those that ate their usual weight loss program, participants who took the low-carb approach had greater improvements in A1C and fasting blood glucose levels over six months. They also lost a mean of 13 kilos. Although modest, improvements in A1C represent an almost 60 percent reduced risk of developing diabetes over the following three years.

“The reduction in A1C was greater in participants who were white than black, which is important to know,” says Dr. Romeo. “By including a large number of black participants, the study helps us understand whether the response to a low-carb diet is comparable across races. This trial did not seem to be the case.”

Was a low-carb weight loss program the one consider higher blood sugar control?

No, says Dr. Romeo, it's inconceivable to inform if the load lack of the low-carb participants is attributed to higher blood sugar control. Losing fat helps reduce insulin resistance. “This means your body will respond more effectively to the insulin you make,” he says. “It's obviously very helpful.”

But two direct effects of the low-carb approach can also be liable for lowering blood glucose, he says. Forcing your body to depend on energy sources apart from carbohydrates reduces your appetite. Also, while you eat more carbohydrates, your pancreas has to supply more insulin. Eating less carbohydrates reduces the burden on the pancreas and reduces insulin resistance without weight reduction.

Other study limitations also confounded the outcomes, including the intensive dietary counseling and self-reporting of every day food intake received by the low-carb participants. Dr. Romeo also identified that the study was not large or long-term, two attributes that strengthened its findings. “It doesn't necessarily tell how sustainable this low-carb diet is, so a 12-month or 18-month study would be welcome,” he says. “But I think it's a very good step in that direction.”

Can a rational approach to carbohydrates make a difference?

Not everyone with prediabetes will probably be willing or capable of reduce their carbohydrate intake to the acute levels done by the study participants. But even cutting back on some carbohydrates can have advantages for blood sugar and weight control, says Dr. Romeo.

“The fairly high carbohydrate intake that we've all become accustomed to — breads, sweets, starchy vegetables — can be dialed down a bit,” he says. “Not only can it reduce the risk of diabetes, but it can also help with weight loss.”