Low-fat diet safe for weight loss by diabetics

A low-fat diet promotes weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes without unfavorable alterations in blood lipids or glucose control, according to a new report.

Although a low-fat, high-complex carb diet has become accepted for helping type 2 diabetics lose weight, the researchers explain in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, recent controversy has focused on whether a high-monounsaturated fat diet might avoid the possible effects of a high-carbohydrate diet in raising blood fats and glucose.

Dr. William E. Connor and colleagues from Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon investigated the pros and cons of a 6-week, low-fat diet or a high-monounsaturated fat (high-mono) diet in 11 patients with type 2 diabetes.

The low-fat diet led to a significant weight loss, the team found, whereas the high-mono diet did not. Subjects assigned to the low-fat diet consumed 212 fewer kilocalories daily than did those assigned to the high-mono diet.

“I would think the differences would become more pronounced with longer adherence to the low fat diet,” Connor told Reuters Health.

Both diets similarly reduced total, LDL-, and HDL-cholesterol concentrations, and glucose control did not differ between the two, the researchers found. Also, the low-fat diet did not cause the blood levels of triglycerides to increase.

The results are in line with “older studies and current studies showing the benefit of a low-fat, high-fiber, high-carbohydrate diet in diabetics,” Connor concluded.

SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, September 2004.


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Revision date: July 3, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.