When a major health organisation like the American Diabetes Association (ADA) debuts its new guidelines for healthcare providers, Low-Carbohydrate and Very Low-Carbohydrate Eating Patterns in Adults with Diabetes, recognising low carb as a viable nutrition solution for patients with type 2 diabetes, it’s a huge deal. Here’s why.
Nutrition science has evolved
Science is constantly evolving, and quality research is continuously published. Still, many governments and health organisations are late to adopt new treatment recommendations, even when substantial evidence demonstrates life-changing potential.
Public health policies and dietary guidelines lag, and there’s resistance to change because of the vested economic interests in the current structure.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines are reviewed every ten years, the US every five, but it’s far too long, and newer evidence soon supersedes the recommendations. While waiting for an update, millions of people will develop conditions like type 2 diabetes, which is largely preventable through diet.
The current dietary guidelines (intended to keep our population healthy) recommend that people eat a diet with 45–65% of energy from carbohydrates. To be frank, this is dangerous and outdated advice, especially if you have type 2 diabetes. So, we tip our hat to the ADA for their low carb endorsement.
Why it’s so important for people with diabetes to limit their carb intake
Based on the latest evidence, we know that eating fewer carbs has various benefits in people with type 2 diabetes, including
- HbA1c reduction
- Reduced medications
- Weight loss
- Lower blood pressure
- Increased HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides
- Type 2 diabetes remission
In their new guidelines for health care providers, the ADA recommends low carbe and very low carb diets (known as a ketogenic diet) to achieve improved outcomes in adults with type 2 diabetes.
The ADA guidelines stress the importance of quality, not just the quantity of carbohydrates.
> “Focus on quality of carbohydrate, not just quantity”
They recommend patients work with their healthcare provider to personalise a carbohydrate goal that’s appropriate and realistic for an individual.
One of the easiest ways is to start with your current carbohydrate intake and decrease the number of carbs. A digital diabetes management program can simplify things if you’re unsure where to start.
Health organisations in the US and UK now recognise and strongly recommend a low carb diet as a management option for those with type 2 diabetes.
Australian Government guidelines and health organisations are trying hard to keep up with evolving diabetes science. After all, they are responsible for ensuring people with type 2 diabetes have access to the latest information to manage their condition or even put it into remission.
A few months back, we were excited to see Diabetes Australia acknowledging the role a low carb approach can have in type 2 diabetes management. We can’t wait to see Australian health organisations begin to recommend, not just recognise low carb as a viable option for type 2 diabetes management.