A Low-Carbohydrate Diet Realizes Medication Withdrawal: A Possible Opportunity for Effective Glycemic Control.

Frontiers in endocrinology. 2021;12:779636
Full text from:

Plain language summary

Many studies have shown that diet restrictions can help glycemic control and reduce metabolic risks in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The aim of this study was to look at the efficacy of two diets, the LCD and the low-fat diet (LFD), on glycemic control and clinical treatment. The study was a prospective, open-label, double-arm, randomized controlled trial conducted from March 2019 to December 2020 in China. 134 T2DM participants took part and they were randomly assigned to the LCD group or the low -fat diet (LFD) group. The following were measured at the beginning and end of each intervention: weight, fasting blood glucose (FBG), postprandial 2-h blood glucose (PPG), glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c), antiglycemic medications, and medications for other diseases and emerging diseases. The effect of decreasing blood glucose control with the LCD is superior to that of the LFD for Chinese patients with T2DM. It also led to a lower medication effects score (MES). It can reduce body weight, BMI, and lipid-lowering agents. Strict diet control and monitoring are the keys to managing diabetes. Further larger scale studies are needed to obtain more evidence.


Objective: Multiple studies have confirmed that diet restrictions can effectively realize glycemic control and reduce metabolic risks in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). In 2018, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) stated that individuals can select a low-carbohydrate diet (LCD) according to their needs and preferences. Owing to the influence of Chinese traditional eating habits, only a small portion of patients in China have achieved their blood glucose goals. As a result, the Chinese government will incur huge expenditures. Method: This study recruited 134 T2DM participants and randomly assigned them to the LCD group (n = 67) or the low-fat diet (LFD) group (n = 67). All of the patients had a fixed amount of exercise and were guided by clinicians. After a period of dietary washout, all of the patients received corresponding dietary education according to group. The follow-up time was 6 months. The indicators for anthropometry, glycemic control, and medication application parameters were collected and compared between the two groups. Results: There were 121 participants who finally entered the study. The proportions of calories from three major nutrients the participants consumed met the requirements of LCD and LFD. Compared with baseline, the pre-postdifferences of body weight, BMI, and several other indicators were significant except for dosages of insulin used in the LCD group and MES in the LFD group. After the intervention, body weight, body weight index (BMI), fasting blood glucose (FBG), postprandial 2-h blood glucose (PPG), and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels in the LCD group decreased significantly (p < 0.05) compared with the LFD group. The number of patients using lipid-lowering agents was significant higher in the LCD group and lower in the LFD group. However, there was no significant difference between the two groups for antihypertensive, hormone-replacement, and other agents. Conclusions: The LCD diet can decrease body weight, glycemic levels, MES, and lipid-lowering agents more than the LFD diet, thus decreasing cost burden in Chinese patients with T2DM. Strict diet control and monitoring are the keys to managing diabetes.

Lifestyle medicine

Fundamental Clinical Imbalances : Hormonal ; Immune and inflammation
Patient Centred Factors : Mediators/Type 2 diabetes
Environmental Inputs : Diet ; Nutrients ; Physical exercise
Personal Lifestyle Factors : Nutrition ; Exercise and movement
Functional Laboratory Testing : Blood

Methodological quality

Jadad score : 3
Allocation concealment : Yes


Nutrition Evidence keywords : Low fat diet