Type 2 diabetes patients who follow low-carb diet may see remission: study

The systematic review and meta-analysis was published in the BMJ this week

Those who suffer from type 2 diabetes may see remission if they follow a low-carbohydrate diet for at least six months, a new study suggests. 

In a systematic review and meta-analysis published in the BMJ this week, researchers found that Type 2 diabetes patients who followed a low-carb diet for six months were more likely to achieve remission compared to those who did not. 

"On the basis of moderate to low certainty evidence, patients adhering to [a low-carb diet] for six months may experience remission of diabetes without adverse consequences," they concluded. (iStock)

"On the basis of moderate to low certainty evidence, patients adhering to [a low-carb diet] for six months may experience remission of diabetes without adverse consequences," they concluded. (iStock)

Researchers defined a low-carb diet as 26% of daily calories coming from carbohydrates, while a very low carb diet was defined as only 10% of daily calories coming from carbs. 

In an analysis of some 1,357 participants with the metabolic disease, researchers found that those who strictly adhered to a low-carb diet experienced greater rates of remission at a six-month follow-up compared to those who did not, with the diet being associated with a 32% increased rate of remission. 

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Additional benefits were also noted for those who followed this diet, including weight loss and healthier body fat concentrations, among other positive effects. 

However, the researchers noted that benefits from following a low-carb diet diminished at the year mark, though it wasn’t immediately clear why this was. They noted the need for more study on this topic.

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Still, "on the basis of moderate to low certainty evidence, patients adhering to [a low-carb diet] for six months may experience remission of diabetes without adverse consequences," they concluded. 

"Limitations include continued debate around what constitutes remission of diabetes, as well as the efficacy, safety, and dietary satisfaction of longer-term [low-carb diets]," they added.