Monday, March 27, 2006

Study: Low-Carb Diet Controls Diabetes Without Weight Loss Or Insulin

Drs. Mary Gannon and Frank Nuttall have good news for diabetics

A new study released in the scientific journal Nutrition & Metabolism found that type 2 diabetes can be managed and controlled simply by minor changes in the diet alone without the need for weight loss or the use of insulin medications.

Dr. Mary C. Gannon and Dr. Frank Q. Nuttall, both from the Center For Diabetes Research at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, wanted to test a theory that you can bring about improvements in patients with type 2 diabetes that do not require weight loss or insulin to control the blood glucose concentration. What they wanted to know was if it was possible to do this by changing the KIND of foods eaten rather than the AMOUNT of food consumed.

For the study, they looked at the protein:carbohydrate:fat ratios of three groups of patients with untreated type 2 diabetes over a 5-week period.

One group had a 15:55:30 ratio (commonly known as the low-fat diet), another group had a 30:40:30 ratio (which closely resembles The Zone diet), and the final group had a 30:20:50 ratio (you know as livin' la vida low-carb).

What were the results?

The 30:40:30 ratio diet saw a moderate but significant decrease in 24-hour integrated blood glucose area and percentage of total glycohemoglobin (%GHb). But, even more exciting, was the 30:20:50 ratio diet group (low-carb) which saw an amazing 38 percent drop in the 24-hour glucose area, which was a reduction in fasting glucose that resemble close to "normal" readings and the %GHb fell more than two percentage points from 9.8% to 7.6%. The 30:30:40 ratio diet saw similar results.

Based on these results, Dr. Gannon and Dr. Nuttall concluded that changes in diet alone could indeed help control diabetes without the need for weight loss or medication.

"Altering the diet composition could be a patient-empowering method of improving the hyperglycemia of type 2 diabetes without weight loss or pharmacologic intervention," the researchers explained.

This is truly unbelievable research that should be front-page news around the world today. But have you heard about it anywhere else? How about a blurb on the national news? CBS? NBC? ABC? Anyone?! Not likely!

It's funny how the media will fall all over themselves when a suspicious "study" like this one comes out making the low-carb approach look bad, but then they will conveniently play dumb when positive studies like the one conducted by Gannon and Nuttall are released. Their hypocritical double-standard has never been more exposed than it is right now!

Dr. Gannon and Dr. Nuttall were both speakers at the Nutritional & Metabolic Aspects of Carbohydrate Restriction conference in Brooklyn, New York in January which I was privileged to be able to attend.

In my notes from the conference, I wrote down some of the key thoughts from their presentation of their research. It turns out that it is the protein in the low-carb diets that aided the production of insulin in the study participants because protein actually stimulates the production of insulin. I learned something new because I did not know that.

"If you increase insulin, then you decrease glucose," Dr. Gannon explained at the conference.

Additionally, she said that fats can delay the digestion of carbohydrates which is why consuming fat is so important as part of a healthy eating plan, especially for diabetics who want to control their blood glucose levels. She also added that since starchy foods are 100% glucose, they are directly responsible for raising blood glucose levels to dangerous levels for type 2 diabetics. Now there's a good reason to be low-carbing!

By the way, that 30:20:50 diet is known as the "Low Biologically Glucose Diet," or LoBAG for short. The fat composition is 50%, with just 11 percent of that being saturated fat. This was found to be the very best change in diet to bring about improvements in the symptoms of type 2 diabetes while keeping the weight stablized.

If you are a diabetic, then talk with your doctor about the LoBAG approach to treating your condition. Don't accept the notion that you have to rely on self-injected insulin the rest of your life. There are better treatment options available and it's time to give patients a real choice about how to deal with their diabetes.

Send Dr. Mary Gannon and Dr. Frank Nuttall your appreciation for their work on diabetes by e-mailing them at


Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Ah, the media... good or positive news is not sexy and hence not in demand with our friends. Bad news, however, makes for nice doomsday headlines and sells more and thicker newspapers.

The really pathetic thing, of course, is the fact that they think that "we" ("we"; the stupid news consumers) do not notice any or all of this and mindlessly swallow it all. That's the real insult.

3/28/2006 4:54 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I read the full study (which is very nicely available for free) and noticed that they mentioned that they are testing a diet that uses 30% carbs. They write:

We are completing a study in which the LoBAG20 diet has been modified by increasing the carbohydrate content to 30% from 20% with a corresponding decrease in fat. We refer to this as a LoBAG30 diet. This was done because the diet is likely to be acceptable to a greater number of people. The results to date appear similar to those obtained when the subjects received the LoBAG20 diet.

Very interesting!

3/28/2006 9:16 AM  
Blogger Sandylp said...

I have a friend who needed to lose at least 50 lbs, but was unsuccessful and un-motivated until he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. He has been eating low carb for about 6 months now and has been able to control his diabetes by diet alone and has lost those 50 lbs as well.

3/28/2006 10:11 PM  

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