Advice to follow a low-carbohydrate diet has a favourable impact on low-grade inflammation in type 2 diabetes compared with advice to follow a low-fat diet

Ann Med. 2014 May;46(3):182-7. doi: 10.3109/07853890.2014.894286. Epub 2014 Apr 30.


Background: Inflammation may play an important role in type 2 diabetes. It has been proposed that dietary strategies can modulate inflammatory activity.

Methods: We investigated the effects of diet on inflammation in type 2 diabetes by comparing a traditional low-fat diet (LFD) with a low-carbohydrate diet (LCD). Patients with type 2 diabetes were randomized to follow either LFD aiming for 55-60 energy per cent (E%) from carbohydrates (n = 30) or LCD aiming for 20 E% from carbohydrates (n = 29). Plasma was collected at baseline and after 6 months. C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra), IL-6, tumour necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) 1 and TNFR2 were determined.

Results: Both LFD and LCD led to similar reductions in body weight, while beneficial effects on glycaemic control were observed in the LCD group only. After 6 months, the levels of IL-1Ra and IL-6 were significantly lower in the LCD group than in the LFD group, 978 (664-1385) versus 1216 (974-1822) pg/mL and 2.15 (1.65-4.27) versus 3.39 (2.25-4.79) pg/mL, both P < 0.05.

Conclusions: To conclude, advice to follow LCD or LFD had similar effects on weight reduction while effects on inflammation differed. Only LCD was found significantly to improve the subclinical inflammatory state in type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diabetes Complications / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diet, Carbohydrate-Restricted*
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted*
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / diet therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Weight Loss