BMJ: Low carbing for six months can put type two diabetes into remission without adverse effects.

Adapted from Efficacy and safety of low and very low carb diets for type two diabetes remission. Systemic review and meta-analysis by Goldenber JZ et al. BMJ 2021;372:m4743

My comment: Now, we all know this, but there still is a great deal of resistance to the idea that cutting out sugar and especially starch from your diet, can put type two diabetes into remission. Lately there has been a lot more emphasis that very low calorie diets are good for diabetes remission, but let’s face it, starving yourself is no fun at all, and eventually, even if you do manage to keep to a very low calorie diet for many months, you need to do something to maintain that remission, rather than yo-yo back into diabetes. This is why I was pleased to see this report in the BMJ.

This study looked at randomised controlled trials that evaluated low carb diets for at least 12 weeks in adults with type two diabetes. Their definition was less than 130 g of carb a day or 26% of the diet from carbohydrates. A very low carb diet was defined as less than 50g of carb a day or 10% of dietary carbs a day.

They wanted to see if remission was achieved. This was deemed to be a HbA1c of less than 6.5% or a fasting blood sugar of less than 7.0 mmol/L with or without the use of diabetes medication. They also looked at weight loss, HbAIc, fasting glucose and adverse events.

Compared to control diets, low carb diets produced remission at six months in 57% versus 31% in the control diets.

The population studied were 1,357 people aged 47 to 67 years of age and most were overweight or obese. 23 studies were looked at and 14 of these included patients who were on insulin. There was very little in the way of adverse consequences.

Low-Carb Diets Help People with Type 2 Diabetes

researchThis week’s round-up of diabetes in the news flagged up research carried out in Australia, showing that low-carb diets help people with type 2 diabetes to drastically reduce the amount of medication they need.

I’ll admit it. I’m very guilty of confirmation bias, i.e. I look for the research and the reports that back up my opinions and I would have made a rubbish scientist. However, in six months or so of weekly Google alerts for “diabetes news”, not once has my search term brought up research which proved a high-carb, low-fat diet worked…

Anyway, the latest research was carried out by CSIRO, Adelaide University, Flinders University and the University of South Australia.

40 Percent Reduction

Adelaide University researchers developed a diet and exercise programme which resulted in an average 40 percent reduction in medication levels for people with type 2 diabetes. The diet used was low in carbohydrates and higher in protein and unsaturated fats.

The programme was based on findings from a National Health and Medical Research Council funded study which compared low carb eating with the current Australia best practice approach of managing type 2 diabetes with a diet high in unrefined carbs and low in fat.


In a news report on the CSIRO website, CSIRO’s associate professor and principal research scientist Grant Brinkworth described the research results as “ground-breaking”, and that patients who followed low-carb diets reduced medication levels by more than double the amount of volunteers following a high-carb plan, with others managing to stop taking their medication altogether thanks to low-carb eating.

He said: “This research shows that traditional dietary approaches for managing type 2 diabetes could be outdated, we really need to review the current dietary guidelines if we are serious about using the latest scientific evidence to reduce the impact of the disease.”

Well. No new news here for us at The Diabetes Diet! We know the benefits of low-carb eating and are prepared to run the gauntlet of official disapproval. If you’d like to try out a low-carb approach to managing your blood sugar levels yourself, why not check out our book or any of the recipes on this website which will help keep meal carb counts low?


Picture thanks to MCM Science on flickr.