Efficacy of low carbohydrate diet for type 2 diabetes mellitus management: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2017 Sep:131:124-131. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2017.07.006. Epub 2017 Jul 8.


Aims: The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to assess the efficacy of Low Carbohydrate Diet (LCD) compared with a normal or high carbohydrate diet in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Methods: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library database for randomized controlled trials. Researches which reported the change in weight loss, blood glucose, and blood lipid levels were included.

Results: A total of 9 studies with 734 patients with diabetes were included. Pooled results suggested that LCD had a significantly effect on HbA1c level (WMD: -0.44; 95% CI: -0.61, -0.26; P=0.00). For cardiovascular risk factors, the LCD intervention significantly reduced triglycerides concentration (WMD: -0.33; 95% CI: -0.45, -0.21; P=0.00) and increased HDL cholesterol concentration (WMD: 0.07; 95% CI: 0.03, 0.11; P=0.00). But the LCD was not associated with decreased level of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Subgroup analyses indicated that short term intervention of LCD was effective for weight loss (WMD: -1.18; 95% CI: -2.32, -0.04; P=0.04).

Conclusions: The results suggested a beneficial effect of LCD intervention on glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes. The LCD intervention also had a positive effect on triglycerides and HDL cholesterol concentrations, but without significant effect on long term weight loss.

Keywords: Low carbohydrate diet; Meta-analysis; Randomized controlled trials; Type 2 diabetes; Weight loss.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Diet, Carbohydrate-Restricted / methods*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Loss / physiology*