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THURSDAY, Jan. 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Patients with type 2 diabetes adhering to low-carbohydrate diets (LCDs) for six months may experience greater rates of diabetes remission, according to a review published online Jan. 13 in The BMJ.

Joshua Z. Goldenberg, Ph.D., from Texas A&M University in College Station, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the efficacy and safety of LCDs and very LCDs (VLCDs) for people with type 2 diabetes. Data were included from 23 trials with 1,357 participants.

The researchers found that compared with control diets, at six months, LCDs achieved higher rates of diabetes remission (defined as hemoglobin A1c [HbA1c] <6.5 percent; 57 versus 31 percent; risk difference, 0.32). When a remission definition of HbA1c <6.5 percent without medication was used, smaller, nonsignificant effect sizes were seen. Data on remission at 12 months were sparse, ranging from a small effect to a trivial increased risk for diabetes. At six months, there were large clinically important improvements in weight loss, triglycerides, and insulin sensitivity, which decreased at 12 months. VLCDs seemed less effective than less restrictive LCDs; this effect was explained by diet adherence. No significant difference was seen in quality of life at six months; however, a clinically important, but not statistically significant, worsening was seen at 12 months.

“Clinicians might consider short term LCDs for management of type 2 diabetes, while actively monitoring and adjusting diabetes medication as needed,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

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