Type 2 diabetes affects more than 480 million individuals globally. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which may lead to cirrhosis and decrease liver function, affects more than half of people with diabetes.
Studies have shown that reducing carbohydrate consumption and losing weight both help with diabetes and NAFLD.
To find out more, scientists from the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, Denmark, randomized 165 individuals with type 2 diabetes to either an LCHF or HCLF diet for six months.
Both sets of participants were instructed to consume the exact same quantity of calories to match their energy use. Participants in the low-carbohydrate diet were instructed to consume no more than 20% of their calories from carbs, but they were allowed to consume 50% to 60% of their calories from fat and 20% to 30% of their calories from protein.
Patients following the low-fat diet were instructed to consume around half of their calories as carbs and the remaining calories as an equal mixture of proteins and fats.
They discovered that those on the low-carb diet lowered hemoglobin A1c by 0.59 percent more than those on the low-fat diet, and they also lost 3.8 kg more weight than those on the low-fat diet.
Additionally, the low-carb dieters lowered their waist circumference and shed more body fat. At six months, both groups had increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and decreased triglycerides.
However, improvements were not sustained three months following the intervention, suggesting that dietary adjustments must be maintained over time to be effective.
The high-fat consumption in the low-carb group did not have an impact on the liver: The researchers discovered no change in the levels of inflammation or liver fat between the two groups.
They find that, when compared to a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet, a low-carbohydrate, high-fat, calorie-unrestricted diet helped patients achieve greater weight reduction and sugar control over a 6-month intervention.
The changes didn’t last 3 months after the intervention, which suggests that people need to make long-term changes to their diets to keep getting health benefits.
The research was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
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