Glycemic index and low-carbohydrate diets in type 2 diabetes
When you have type 2 diabetes, the main nutritional objective is weight loss by offering a low-calorie diet. And it is the royal road for many health professionals. But today, a whole panel of low-carbohydrate diets is in the news and claims to be more effective in losing weight but also in normalizing blood sugar. What should we think of these unconventional, controversial approaches in type 2 diabetics?
Article written by Catherine Conan, dietician
For years, in order to protect people with type 2 diabetes from vascular complications and variations in blood sugar levels, many health professionals have traditionally adopted a sometimes low-calorie diet (focusing mainly on reducing fat and leading to more high carbohydrate consumption) resulting in non-compliance with the diet and therefore failure. To obtain results and cover nutritional needs, it is better to consider targeted corrections rather than setting up a drastic diet, such as stopping snacking, reducing sugary drinks and recommending physical activity. The goal is to achieve weight reduction coupled with good eating habits. Food must be balanced quantitatively but also qualitatively. But are these nutritional recommendations sufficient to achieve significant weight loss? Should we go beyond these notions?
What is a low-carb diet?
Today, faced with the difficulties of achieving significant weight loss in patients with type 2 diabetes, new studies highlight the success of the implementation of low-carbohydrate diets at the expense of low-fat diets. What do they consist of? Are they really effective?
These diets consist in setting up a diet low in carbohydrates (25% of the total caloric intake against 50 to 55% in the case of a balanced diet or in the case of a diet low in fats), rich in protein. coupled with a physical activity program. We then get an improvement in blood sugar and in particular postprandial blood sugar (after meals), blood triglycerides, a decrease in blood pressure and the diastolic function of the left ventricle normalizes 1 . Without forgetting that the intake of anti-diabetic drugs traditionally accompanying the diet is reduced without any particular impact on blood sugar!
However, these diets have their limits since the weight loss is no more important than in the case of a low-fat diet and the risks of nutritional deficiencies cannot be ignored. Therefore, further studies are needed. But what are these diets?