New research suggests that switching to the “Very Low Carbohydrate Diet,” and not just your average low-carb diet, could be beneficial for Type 1 diabetes patients, as it could give them more control over their blood sugar levels.
In a study published this week in the journal Pediatrics, researchers conducted a survey involving 316 individuals, including 130 children, with Type 1 diabetes, all of whom were diagnosed with the condition at an average age of 14 to 16 years old, and had been on the Very Low Carbohydrate Diet (VLCD) for the past two to four years. Everyone who took part in the survey had been limiting their carbohydrate consumption to an average of just 15 to 366 grams of carbs per day, as noted by NDTV.
Based on the researchers’ findings, most of the study’s participants who followed the VLCD and also took smaller doses of insulin, as compared to what is usually recommended for those on normal diets, had “exceptional” blood sugar control, with only a few cases of minor complications. On average, the participants’ hemoglobin A1C levels, which are used to determine blood sugar levels on a long-term basis, were at 5.67 percent, which is just under the normal level of 5.7 percent, and well below the usual average for diabetics of 6.5 percent. Furthermore, children who followed the Very Low Carbohydrate Diet “for years” did not suffer from impaired growth, according to a report from the New York Times.
“Their blood sugar control seemed almost too good to be true,” read a statement from study lead author Belinda Lennerz, a pediatric endocrinology instructor at Harvard Medical School.
“It’s nothing we typically see in the clinic for Type 1 diabetes.”
How a low-carb diet might aid people with Type 1 diabetes https://t.co/Nm3wEv1FRZ— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 12, 2018
According to NDTV, there are several foods that could stand out as good choices for anyone planning to switch to a low-carb diet to control their Type 1 diabetes. These include lean meats such as chicken and salmon, mushrooms, and vegetables such as broccoli and tomatoes.
Although the study did make a good case for the Very Low Carbohydrate Diet as a blood sugar management tool for Type 1 diabetes patients, the New York Times wrote that the research did have its share of limitations. Instead of being a controlled and randomized clinical trial, the study was more of an observational one, with the participants recruited from TypeOneGrit, a Facebook group that focuses on low-carb diets for diabetics. Despite those limitations, David Harlan, co-director of the Diabetes Center of Excellence at the UMass Memorial Medical Center, told the New York Times that the study, which he did not take part in, had its merits, as it showed that the VLCD is “much safer” and more effective than what most experts might have thought.