•A low-carb diet is a diet that restricts carbohydrates, such as those found in sugary foods, pasta, and bread
•Dorans said the study does not prove that a low-carb diet prevents diabetes.
People at risk of getting diabetes can help themselves by reducing the number of carbohydrates and starch they ingest in a day, a new study has shown.
People with a diabetes diagnosis are often advised to cut carbohydrates as a way to control their diabetes.
Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body does not use insulin properly and cannot regulate blood sugar levels.
But this new study shows that a low-carb diet may also help people at risk for diabetes lower their blood sugar, or possibly avoid a diagnosis altogether.
A low-carb diet is a diet that restricts carbohydrates, such as those found in sugary foods, pasta and bread. It has a higher percentage of fat and protein, as well as low carbohydrate foods.
The researchers from Tulane University suggested that a low-carb diet can help those with unmedicated diabetes, and those at risk for diabetes by lowering their blood sugar.
People who are at risk of getting diabetes include those who are overweight or 45 years or older.
Genetics, those that have a parent, grandparent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes are also at risk. People who are inactive, or have prediabetes.
Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.
Prediabetes puts you at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
The study which was published in the journal JAMA Network Open compared two groups: one assigned to a low-carb diet and another that continued with their usual diet.
After six months, the low-carb diet group had greater drops in haemoglobin A1c, a marker for blood sugar levels, when compared with the group who ate their usual diet.
The low-carbohydrate diet group also lost weight and had lower fasting glucose levels.
"The key message is that a low-carbohydrate diet, if maintained, might be a useful approach for preventing and treating Type 2 diabetes, though more research is needed," Kirsten Dorans, lead author said.
According to the World Health Organization, the prevalence of diabetes in Kenya is at 3.3 per cent and by 2025 we will be looking at a 4.5 per cent rise.
Type 2 diabetes comprises more than 90 per cent of those cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Type 2 diabetes can severely impact the quality of life with symptoms such as blurred vision, numb hands and feet, and overall tiredness and can cause other serious health problems like heart disease, vision loss and kidney disease.
Dorans said the study does not prove that a low-carb diet prevents diabetes.
But it does open the door to further research about how to mitigate the health risks of those with prediabetes and diabetes not treated by medication.
“We already know that a low-carbohydrate diet is one dietary approach used among people who have Type 2 diabetes, but there is not as much evidence on effects of this diet on blood sugar in people with prediabetes,” Dorans said.
“Future work could be done to see if this dietary approach may be an alternative approach for Type 2 diabetes prevention.”