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Effects of Low-Carb Diet on Appetite, Glucose, and InsulinResistance *

An Atkins-like low-carbohydrate diet can help improve glucose control,insulin sensitivity, and glycated hemoglobin (A1C), according to a trialreported in the March 15, 2005, issue of Annals of InternalMedicine.

Researchers studied diet in a controlled clinical environment among 10obese people with type 2 diabetes. While staying in an inpatient hospitalunit, participants were instructed to continue their usual diet, consisting ofmeals from the hospital kitchen augmented by food from the outside, for thefirst 7 days of the trial. Participants were encouraged to eat as much as theywanted of name-brand foods—McDonald's sandwiches, Dunkin' Donuts bakeryproducts, Oreo cookies—for which dietary information was readilyavailable.

After 7 days, all participants switched to a low-carb diet that reducedcarbohydrates to about 21 g/day but permitted as much protein and fat as theydesired. People were allowed to choose from a menu of foods prepared in thehospital kitchen. They remained on the low-carb diet for the next 2 weeks. Allparticipants were encouraged to maintain their usual level of physicalactivity.

While on the low-carb diet, the average energy intake decreased from 3,111kcal/day to 2,164 kcal/day, which contributed to an average weight loss of 3.6lb during the 14-day low-carb diet phase. The average 24-hour blood glucoselevels became normalized, the average A1C level dropped from 7.3% to 6.8%, andinsulin sensitivity improved by about 75%, according to researchers.

Although the study had a small number of participants and lasted only a fewweeks, it was strictly controlled and provides evidence concerning the valueof low-carb diets that may merit further exploration in larger controlledstudies.

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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

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Published on 12-03-2007