But recent research published in the journal Diabetologia demonstrated that a diabetes diet unlike the standard recommended diet for patients led to better blood sugar control after just four months without the patients losing weight.
In particular, this different diet had a reduced carbohydrate content and an increased share of proteins and fats. Senior consultant Thure Krarup from the Bispebjerb Hospital in Copenhagen notes that this diet could still be optimized for diabetes treatment in the future.
Mainstream dietary recommendations for diabetics often feature complex carbohydrates from grains and other fiber-rich foods. Diets like these are designed to inhibit spikes in blood glucose that, in turn, also help regulate the amount of insulin in the blood. Insulin is the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar.
Furthermore, mainstream diabetes diets often contain little to no fat in order to promote weight loss and prevent weight gain. It is thought that proper weight management can curb spikes in blood sugar and protect against other cardiometabolic complications and conditions linked to diabetes, including heart disease and obesity.
But scientists from the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) note that studies on these standard diabetes diets often differ in terms of their results despite similarities in the diets' carbohydrate and fat content.
Conventional diabetes diets are also geared toward weight loss, which accounts for their low-fat content. But Krarup explained that weight loss has complicated interpretations and muddled conclusions in a number of studies on diabetes diets.
Therefore, the team postulated that adopting a diet low in carbohydrates and high in proteins and fats can lead to better blood sugar control without interference from weight loss.
To test the effects of this modified diet on diabetics, the team studied 28 participants that had Type 2 diabetes over a total period of 12 weeks.
For the first six weeks of the trial, the team placed 14 of the participants in a carbohydrate-reduced high protein (CRHP) diet. For the next six weeks, the participants switched to an iso-energetic conventional diabetes (CD) diet.
The other 14 participants received the same dietary interventions but in the reverse order, adopting the CD diet for the first six weeks then switching to the CRHP diet for the remaining six weeks.
The team also asked the participants to maintain their weight throughout the intervention to keep weight loss out of the equation.
After the intervention period, the team found that the CRHP diet improved the participants' ability to regulate blood sugar by inhibiting blood sugar spikes after meals and keeping the participants' fasting blood glucose stable.
Moreover, the team found that the CRHP diet enhanced fat metabolism and reduced fat content in the liver and pancreas.
Given these findings, the researchers thus concluded that the CRHP diet can be beneficial for patients with Type 2 diabetes even if the diet itself does not promote weight loss.
These findings also underscore the importance of blood sugar regulation, not weight loss, in the management of diabetes.
Krarup adds that further research is needed in order to further optimize the CRHP diet for diabetes patients. (Related: The best diets for balancing your blood sugar.)
This research received funding from a number of institutions in Denmark, including Arla Food for Health, Aarhus University, UCPH and the Bispebjerb Hospital.
Read more articles about CRHP diet and other holistic treatments for diabetes at DiabetesCure.news.