Objective: Although caloric restriction is a widely used intervention to reduce body weight and insulin resistance, many patients are unable to comply with such dietary therapy for long periods. The clinical effectiveness of low-carbohydrate diets was recently described in a position statement of Diabetes UK and a scientific review conducted by the American Diabetes Association. However, randomised trials of dietary interventions in Japanese patients with type 2 diabetes are scarce. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the effects of a non-calorie-restricted, low-carbohydrate diet in Japanese patients unable to adhere to a calorie-restricted diet.
Methods: The enrolled patients were randomly allocated to receive a conventional calorie-restricted diet or low-carbohydrate diet. The patients received consultations every two months from a registered dietician for six months. We compared the effects of the two dietary interventions on glycaemic control and metabolic profiles.
Results: The HbA1c levels decreased significantly from baseline to six months in the low-carbohydrate diet group (baseline 7.6±0.4%, six months 7.0±0.7%, p=0.03) but not in the calorie-restricted group (baseline 7.7±0.6%, six months 7.5±1.0%, n.s.), (between-group comparison, p=0.03). The patients in the former group also experienced improvements in their triglyceride levels, without experiencing any major adverse effects or a decline in the quality of life.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that a low-carbohydrate diet is effective in lowering the HbA1c and triglyceride levels in patients with type 2 diabetes who are unable to adhere to a calorie-restricted diet.