Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, is a type of diabetes in which the pancreas produces little to no insulin. Insulin is a hormone that allows blood sugar to enter the cells in the body to be used for energy. Without it, blood sugar won’t be able to get into cells and accumulates in the bloodstream, causing elevated blood sugar levels. This condition occurs due to an autoimmune reaction that damages beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes is less common than Type 2, comprising only five percent of people with diabetes.
For the study, Danish researchers looked at how low-carb diets could help those with Type 1 diabetes. They recruited 10 people with the condition, who wore sensor-augmented insulin pumps and received individual meal plans during the study. Every participant’s carbohydrate intake was entered into the pump throughout the study period.
After the 12-week study period, the researchers found that participants who ate 100 g of carbs per day spent less time with blood sugar levels below 3.9 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) compared with those who ate 250 g each day. Those who followed a low-carb diet also experienced greater weight reductions. These results suggested that limiting carb intake to just 100 g a day may lead to positive effects, such as reduced blood sugar levels, more stable blood sugar variability, and better weight management.
The findings also support the growing evidence that restricting carb intake can be beneficial to people with diabetes. Refraining from eating starchy carbohydrates like pasta and potatoes can reduce blood sugar spikes and drops that typically occur with higher carb diets. (Related: Is type 1 diabetes reversible? Study finds many people begin to produce insulin years after diagnosis.)
Adhering to a low-carb diet can be challenging, especially at the beginning of the diet. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Following a low-carb diet prioritizes the consumption of proteins, healthy fats and vegetables over carbs. Learn more about managing diabetes symptoms with diets at PreventDiabetes.news.