Our Low Carb Diabetes Diet & Lifestyle Solution book gives you the low down to help manage type 2 diabetes.
A stylised picture of mexican black beans to help manage type 2 diabetes with a low carb diet.

You can manage type 2 diabetes with a low carb lifestyle. And our book, which features recipes like our Mexican Black Beans, can show you how.

Updated 14 January 2021

Diabetes affects more than 1.7 million Australians, with another 280 joining them each day.

We sat down with Grant Brinkworth, our Senior Principal Research Scientist and co-author of the new CSIRO Low Carb Diabetes Diet and Lifestyle Solution Book. He gives us the low down on type 2 diabetes. It’s the disease that has been labelled one of the greatest global health challenges of the 21st century. And it accounts for about 85-90 per cent of all diabetes cases.

Grant tells us how some simple lifestyle changes with our low-carb lifestyle can make a world of difference in managing this disease.

Can you tell us a little bit about diabetes?

The cover of the

Our CSIRO Low Carb Diabetes Diet and Lifestyle Solution Book is available to order now!

Diabetes is a serious and complex disease. When we eat carbohydrate-rich foods like breads, pasta, potatoes, fruits and sugars, our bodies digest the carbohydrate into a simpler form called glucose. After that, we store this glucose in our cells with the help of insulin, which is a hormone made by the pancreas. Our bodies can then use the stored glucose as an energy source when required.

With type 2 diabetes, your body either does not produce enough insulin or it resists the effects of insulin to properly move glucose from your blood into your cells. When this happens the glucose level in our blood increases and remains elevated. Over time, having too much glucose in our blood can cause health problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, eye, kidney and heart disease.

Unlike type 1 diabetes which is an autoimmune condition, lifestyle factors heavily influence our risk of developing type 2 diabetes. For instance, excessive weight, what we eat and drink and our exercise habits, or lack thereof can make us more susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes.

What are the risk factors for type 2 diabetes?

There are several lifestyle and genetic risk factors which make it more likely for a person to develop type 2 diabetes.

Genetic risk factors that cannot be changed:

  • Advanced ageing.
  • Sex (males have a higher risk).
  • Family history of diabetes.
  • Ethnicity (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Pacific Islanders and Asians are a few ethnic groups who have a greater risk).

Lifestyle risk factors that we have a little more control over:

  • Obesity, especially around the belly and the vital organs.
  • Poor diet.
  • Physical inactivity and high levels of sedentary time.
  • Smoking.

What damage can diabetes have on our health?

This wonderful diagram is from our CSIRO Low Carb Diabetes Diet and Lifestyle Solution Book. It illustrates the damage diabetes can have from our heads down to our toes.

A diagram pointing out the effects of diabetes on the whole body.

This diagram shows how diabetes can affect our bodies.

What is your advice on dealing with type 2 diabetes?

Many factors can play a part in making us more susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes: genetic factors that we cannot change and lifestyle factors that we may be able to change.

Lifestyle factors include what we eat and drink, whether we smoke, and how inactive our behaviours are. The good thing is that we have some control over changing the lifestyle risk factors.

When people are well informed about their health and how to take control, their motivation to make improvements increases.

That is why we’ve created the CSIRO Low Carb Diabetes Diet and Lifestyle Solution. It provides detailed information about type 2 diabetes and the vital role of diet and exercise in its management. All the information is based on our rigorous clinical trials. And research from around the world backs our findings.

While the book has a wealth of information on how to proactively take steps to improve your health and lifestyle, it is important to consult your GP or health care team. Especially if you’ve been diagnosed or identify with risk factors we’ve spoken about in this blog.

Can a low carb diet help treat type 1 and gestational diabetes?

Anecdotally, some people with type 1 diabetes have reported benefits from eating a diet with reduced carbohydrate. However, there is insufficient high-quality evidence at the moment to show the effectiveness of low-carb lifestyles for people with type 1 or gestational diabetes. So, until further evidence becomes available, we recommend people with these diabetes sub-types should talk to their health care team before trying this approach.

4 comments

  1. And?

  2. Doesn’t removing carbs from your diet increase insulin resistance and perpetuate the Diabetes issue?
    The only way people will recover from Type 2 Diabetes is by having carbs in their diet.

    1. Hi Mark, thanks for your question.

      The diet does not remove all carbs from the diet, if the suggested menu plan is followed it provides 50-70 grams of high-quality carbohydrates a day with proportionally balanced amounts of protein and health fats. This amount of carbohydrate is equivalent to 3-4 pieces of bread, about 1 cup of rice or 2 cups of fresh fruit salad.

      Kind regards,
      Kashmi
      Team CSIRO

  3. Low carb and high fat has been around for some time. William Banting discovered this in the 1800’s but it didn’t suit the wheat industry’s and big pharma’s agenda. Go research Dr Terry Wahls and see what she has to say about getting the biome right.

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