If you’ve followed Diabetes Meal Plans for sometime now, you’re probably well aware that we encourage a low carb diabetic diet. If you’re new to our community, now you know. 😉
Over the years it’s been pretty common practice that doctors and dietitians recommend a low fat, high carb diet. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) still recommends 45-60 grams of carbs per meal. That’s a lot!
At least it’s come down a bit from the 75 grams they were recommending just last year!
Before digging into the low carb thing further, let’s look at those ADA guidelines a little closer for one minute…
On the lower spectrum you’re looking at around 165 grams/ day once you include the 15 gram snacks they often suggest. On the upper spectrum, you’re looking at a whopping 210 grams carbs per day.
If that’s how much you’re eating and wondering why you can’t lower your blood sugar… well… it could be the amount of carbs you’re eating.
Carbohydrates – the blood sugar/ A1C villian
In recent years nutrition research has advanced quite a lot. There are more new studies coming out every day, week and year, but the problem is… the new information doesn’t get taken up by large organizations such as the ADA — like, until a decade later!
Meanwhile, people’s health is being destroyed by false advice that’s being delivered on a mass scale – it’s really quite appalling. But, it’s not uncommon unfortunately.
Here’s the thing, understanding blood sugar and A1C is pretty simple. They are both a measure of glucose (carbs) in your blood stream – finger pricks are your daily measurements, an A1c blood test is an average glucose measurement of the previous 3 months.
When it comes to diet, we know the nutrient that has the biggest influence on blood sugar is carbohydrates. Sure, the type of carb is important. For instance, sugar and refined carbs are crappier sources of carbs than complex carbs like whole grains. BUT… listen up…
The AMOUNT of carbohydrates you eat has the greatest influence on your numbers.
This is no secret. Every organization, study, dietitian, nutritionist and doctor should know this. It’s super, super simple.
So if the amount of carbohydrates makes the most impact, why would we recommend a low fat, high carb diet to type 2 diabetics?
The answer is: we definitely shouldn’t.
Not because it’s just our opinion or the way we want to eat. But because science shows it works for improving your health outcomes. And that’s what’s important.
Research shows low carb diets outperform low fat diets
Here at Diabetes Meal Plans, we try to stay on top of the latest research – because we want to help you make the best choices for your health. And you can only do that when you are given quality, accurate evidence-based information.
As our motto goes:
Diet + Health Education = Knowledge and Empowerment
So look, let’s just shoot off some of the scientific stats so you can assess this yourself:
#1: In type 2 diabetics, the low carb diet outperformed the low fat diet in a one year clinical trial:
- Low carb group: blood sugar reduction of 12.6 mg/dl (0.6 mmol/l), 52% reduced medications
- Low fat group: blood sugar reduction of 7.2 mg/dl (0.3 mmol/l), 21% reduced medications
Plus, in those following the low carb diet, there was a greater reduction in cholesterol, along with increased HDL (the good cholesterol).
#2: In type 2 diabetics, the low carb diet outperformed the low fat diet (following ADA guidelines) in an 8.1 year follow up of a 4 year randomized trial:
- Low carb group: A1C reduction of 2%, cholesterol reduced by 23.4 mg/dl (1.3 mmol/l), only 44% of people still used medications, 5% sustained diabetes remission (normal blood glucose) after 5 years
- Low fat group: A1C reduction of 1.6%, cholesterol reduced by 12.6 mg/dl (0.6 mmol/l), 70% of people still using medications, zero sustained diabetes remission
#3: A review of 7 clinical trials shows low carb diet outperforms the low fat diet:
- Low carb diet: A1C reduction of 1 to 2.2%, weight loss 10.3 pounds (4.7 kg), 52% of people ceased taking medications
- Low fat diet: A1C reduction of 0.7%, weight loss 6.3 pounds (2.9 kg), 21% of people ceased taking medications
And the researchers observed that the low carb diet produced reductions in fasting glucose levels from 210 to 146 mg/dl (11.6—8 mmol/l) in just weeks!
#4: A 3 month trial in type 2 diabetics showed a low carb diet outperforms the low fat diet (ADA guidelines):
- Low carb diet: A1C reduction of 0.6%, weight loss 12 pounds (5.5 kg), reduction in inflammatory molecules 1.5
- Low fat diet: A1C reduction of 0%, weight loss 5.7 pounds (2.6 kg), reduction in inflammatory molecules 0.7
Low carb participants also had less carbohydrate and sweet cravings, less distress in relation to managing their condition, and less negative mood swings.
#5: Yet another one year clinical trial in type 2 diabetes showed that a low carb diet outperforms the low fat diet (ADA guidelines):
- Low carb diet: A1C reduction of 2%, weight loss 22.2 pounds (10.1 kg), cholesterol reduction 23.4 mg/dl (1.3 mmol/l)
- Low fat diet: A1C reduction of 1.6%, weight loss 15.6 pounds (7.7 kg), cholesterol reduction 12.6 mg/dl (0.7 mmol/l)
#6: In our review of weight loss diet for diabetics:
- Low carb diet average weight loss: 12.9 pounds (5.8 kg)
- Low fat diet average weight loss: 7 pounds (3.2 kg)
- Vegan diet average weight loss: 2.4 pounds (1.1 kg)
#7: Another review comparing diabetic diets made the suggestion that all dietary guidelines for type 2 diabetics should be revised with the low carb diet as a first line of recommended action.
Okay, as you can clearly see yourself, a low carb diet outperforms a low fat diet!
Some organizations, doctors and dietitians will continue to claim that we do not have enough long term evidence. Look, we always need more evidence for everything but one thing is plain and clear: the current dietary recommendations are not working.
And, a low carb diet has proven quite the opposite, in real live people as well.
Please pin, tweet or share; then keep reading. 🙂
Stories of our Members and Subscribers
The research shows that a very low carbohydrate diet (below 30 g carbs day) does produce the best results with A1C. But, this is very low and can be difficult to follow long term. The research also indicates that anything below 120 grams per day will provide some benefits.
We’ve found the middle ground seems to work really well – aiming for an average 80 grams of total carbs per day, which will average out around 50-60 grams net carbs in most cases.
You only have to hear a few of the testimonials of our customers to see that this dietary switch works:
JoAnn: “I started using your help last year (the 30 Day Turnaround Program) when I found out that I had type 2 diabetes. You have been so much help to me this past year. My a1c started out around 9.5. It has been at 5.4 for the past six months. I have lost close to 50 pounds and my goal is 20 more to be were I need to be. Thanks again for all the great recipes and help.”
Tony: “Thanks. I’m down 30 lbs since joining last year (VIP Member) and my last A1C was 6.4.”
Jim: “I first found DMP just before Thanksgiving. OH well! I actually joined (the 30 Day Program) in mid January. My blood glucose varied from 200 to 250 and I felt very out of control. Now I’m a pretty consistent 160 and slowly going down. I have also dropped 8 pounds.”
Sheryl: “After about 3 months, my doctor’s report was best ever: A1c was normal for the first time since I was diagnosed diabetic in 2007; My LDL was 60; my total cholesterol was 130. My lab results were improved across the board. Best news: I am taking less diabetic meds, and my weight is within 5 lbs of normal BMI. (Sheryl took the 30 Day Program, then became a VIP member)”
Even our subscribers use our great blog info to get results:
Paul: “I’ve been following your low carb meal/snack advice for about three months now. I’m a 77 year old male, and went from an A1c reading of 7.9 to 6.0; also lost 22 pounds. Thanks for all the help!”
Why do we encourage a low carb diet for type 2 diabetics?
Quite simple… BECAUSE IT WORKS!
If you need help getting on track, start with these 10 dietary essentials:
- Diabetes diet food list
- Low carb pantry stocking guide
- Check out our low carb food store
- Guide to healthy carbohydrates
- How many carbs per day for a diabetic
- Low carb diet guidelines for type 2 diabetes
- Where to start with your diabetic diet plan
- 1500 calorie, carb controlled meal plan – 2 day sample menu
- The easy way to reduce and control carbs
- 15 carb questions answered
If you haven’t made the switch to low carb, maybe it’s time you take the plunge so you can get better results.
Just remember, if you take insulin, you should get the help of your physician or health care team as you will need to reduce your dosage as you reduce carbs.
Have you got some results to share yourself? Made some great changes? Share your comments below, we’d love to hear them. 🙂