Effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on glycemic control in outpatients with severe type 2 diabetes

Nutr Metab (Lond). 2009 May 6;6:21. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-6-21.

Abstract

We previously demonstrated that a loosely restricted 45%-carbohydrate diet led to greater reduction in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) compared to high-carbohydrate diets in outpatients with mild type 2 diabetes (mean HbA1c level: 7.4%) over 2 years. To determine whether good glycemic control can be achieved with a 30%-carbohydrate diet in severe type 2 diabetes, 33 outpatients (15 males, 18 females, mean age: 59 yrs) with HbA1c levels of 9.0% or above were instructed to follow a low-carbohydrate diet (1852 kcal; %CHO:fat:protein = 30:44:20) for 6 months in an outpatient clinic and were followed to assess their HbA1c levels, body mass index and doses of antidiabetic drugs. HbA1c levels decreased sharply from a baseline of 10.9 ± 1.6% to 7.8 ± 1.5% at 3 months and to 7.4 ± 1.4% at 6 months. Body mass index decreased slightly from baseline (23.8 ± 3.3) to 6 months (23.5 ± 3.4). Only two patients dropped out. No adverse effects were observed except for mild constipation. The number of patients on sulfonylureas decreased from 7 at baseline to 2 at 6 months. No patient required inpatient care or insulin therapy. In summary, the 30%-carbohydrate diet over 6 months led to a remarkable reduction in HbA1c levels, even among outpatients with severe type 2 diabetes, without any insulin therapy, hospital care or increase in sulfonylureas. The effectiveness of the diet may be comparable to that of insulin therapy.