Picture this, you’ve just been told you are prediabetic and need to make some lifestyle changes before it progresses to full-blown diabetes. Where do you start? Well, according to new research, you could start by eating fewer carbs.
While low-carb diets are a common next step for someone diagnosed with diabetes, if you are prediabetic or have diabetes not treated with medication, you don’t need to wait to cut back and see benefits to your blood sugar levels.
“The key message is that a low-carbohydrate diet, if maintained, might be a useful approach for preventing and treating type 2 diabetes, though more research is needed,” says lead author Kirsten Dorans. She’s an assistant professor of epidemiology at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans.
For the study, the researchers studied two groups of 75 people each. In one, participants were assigned to a low-carb diet. The other ate as usual.
Six months later, the low-carb diet group had greater drops in hemoglobin A1C, which is a marker for blood sugar levels. That group also lost weight and had lower fasting blood sugar levels.
While the study doesn’t prove that a low-carb diet prevents diabetes, it opens the door to further research on how to work through health risks of those with prediabetes and diabetes not treated by medication, Dorans shares.
“We already know that a low-carbohydrate diet is one dietary approach used among people who have type 2 diabetes, but there is not as much evidence on effects of this diet on blood sugar in people with prediabetes,” Dorans said in a university news release. “Future work could be done to see if this dietary approach may be an alternative approach for type 2 diabetes prevention.”
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How to reduce your carb intake
So how do you reduce your carb intake? Start with these tips:
1. Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks
One can (12 fluid ounces) of non-diet cola contains 35 grams of carbs, and one small sweetened iced tea drink contains