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Low-Carbohydrate Diet Yields Greater Decrease in HbA1c

Reductions in HbA1c, fasting plasma glucose, body weight at six months greater with low-carbohydrate diet versus usual diet in individuals with elevated untreated HbA1c

THURSDAY, Oct. 27, 2022 (HealthDay News) — For individuals with elevated glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), a low-carbohydrate dietary intervention leads to greater reductions in HbA1c than usual diet, according to a study published online Oct. 26 in JAMA Network Open.

Kirsten S. Dorans, Sc.D., from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, and colleagues randomly assigned 150 individuals aged 40 to 70 years with elevated untreated HbA1c to a low-carbohydrate intervention (target <40 net g carbohydrates during first three months; <60 net g for months 3 to 6) or usual diet to examine the six-month change in HbA1c. Participants in the low-carbohydrate group also received dietary counseling.

The mean HbA1c at baseline was 6.16 percent. The researchers found that the low-carbohydrate diet intervention group had significantly greater reductions in HbA1c (net difference, −0.23 percent), fasting plasma glucose (−10.3 mg/dL), and body weight (−5.9 kg) at six months compared with the usual diet group.

“A low-carbohydrate diet intervention led to larger reductions in HbA1c than usual diet among adults with elevated untreated HbA1c (6.0 to 6.9 percent), though we were unable to assess its effects independently of weight loss,” the authors write. “This dietary approach may be an option for people with or at high risk of type 2 diabetes to improve glycemic and other markers and should be studied further and over longer time periods in other populations and settings.”

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