If you’re at risk for diabetes, cutting back on carbohydrates may help you avoid the disease, according to a new study.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that people who reduced their carbohydrate intake by just 10 percent had a 30 percent lower risk of developing diabetes over the next three years, compared to those who didn’t change their diet.
“These findings suggest that even a modest reduction in carbohydrate intake could have a meaningful impact on diabetes prevention,” said Dr. Yancy WS Jr., one of the study’s authors.
The findings are based on data from the landmark Diabetes Prevention Program, which looked at whether lifestyle changes or the diabetes drug metformin could prevent or delay the development of diabetes in people at high risk for the disease.
Participants in the study were divided into two groups: one that was advised to make lifestyle changes, including a 10 percent reduction in carbohydrate intake, and another that was advised to take metformin.
After three years, the lifestyle group had a 30 percent lower risk of developing diabetes, while the metformin group had a 31 percent lower risk.
The findings suggest that a modest reduction in carbs may be more effective than the diabetes drug in preventing the disease, at least in the short term.
But the authors say more research is needed to determine whether the benefits of carbohydrate reduction are sustained over the long term.
In the meantime, if you’re at risk for diabetes, cutting back on carbohydrates may be a good place to start.
For years, public health officials have been telling us that to combat diabetes, we need to cut down on the sugar and refined carbs in our diet. Now, a new study finds that this advice may be more effective than we thought.
The study, published in the journal BMJ, followed nearly 10,000 British adults over a period of 25 years. During that time, more than 1,000 of the participants developed diabetes.
The researchers found that those who ate the most carbs—particularly the ones that are quickly digested and turned into sugar, like white bread and rice—had a nearly 30 percent higher risk of developing diabetes than those who ate the least carbs.
What’s more, the study found that replacing carbs with fat and protein did not increase the risk of diabetes, as some had feared. In fact, people who ate the most protein had a slightly lower risk of developing diabetes.
The findings add to a growing body of evidence that cutting carbs can help prevent or control diabetes. So if you’re at risk for the disease, it may be time to focus on getting your carbs from whole grains, vegetables, and fruit instead of from processed foods and sugary drinks.