If the diet includes only a moderate amount of carbohydrates, this is associated with a reduction in average blood sugar levels in type 1 diabetes. The risk of organ damage is also significantly reduced.
A recent study involving experts from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden examined whether reduced carbohydrate intake improves glucose levels in people with type 1 diabetes. The results have been published in the specialist journal “The Lancet Regional Health – Europe”.
50 participants with diabetes were examined
The research ultimately included 50 people with type 1 diabetes with a mean baseline HbA1c of 69 mmol/mol, 50 percent of whom were women. The average age of the participants was 48 years.
The participants were divided into two groups who ate either a diet with 50 percent of energy from carbohydrates or a diet with moderate intake of carbohydrates (30 percent of energy) over different periods of time.
How was blood sugar monitored?
To monitor blood glucose, continuous blood glucose monitoring was carried out over the 16-week study period, with blood glucose levels recorded at least every 15 minutes, the team explains.
Both diets contained vegetables, fiber-rich carbohydrate sources, unsaturated fats, nuts, seeds and legumes and, according to the experts, were classified as healthy in terms of fat and carbohydrate quality.
What effect was noticeable?
The study results show that participants with reduced carbohydrate intake more often had blood sugar levels in the range recommended for people with type 1 diabetes.
The time of blood sugar in the target range increased by an average of 68 minutes per day due to the moderate intake of carbohydrates, compared to the consumption of a normal diet, reports the team. At the same time, the time with elevated blood sugar levels was reduced by 85 minutes per day.
Protection against organ damage
“The study shows that a moderately low-carbohydrate diet lowers average blood sugar levels and that more patients can maintain their blood sugar in the target range, which is considered beneficial for reducing the risk of organ damage in people with type 1 diabetes,” concludes the study author Sofia Sterner Isaksson in a press release.
In addition, the satisfaction of the participants improved slightly and no negative effects from the diet with a moderate intake of carbohydrates were detectable. According to Isaksson, adjusting your diet accordingly is a good recommendation for adults with type 1 diabetes and elevated glucose levels.
However, care should be taken to ensure that the amount of carbohydrates consumed is not too low and that the diet is still healthy, particularly when it comes to the quality of fats and carbohydrates, the researchers add.
Do not reduce carbohydrates on your own
It should also be expressly emphasized that major changes in carbohydrate intake in type 1 diabetes should only be made with medical advice for safety reasons.
It is not advisable to make such a dietary change on your own, which is especially true for children with type 1 diabetes, experts warn. (as)