Managing type 2 diabetes: how low-carb diets can help

By Fiona Ross

28 February 2017

One of the low-carb diet options, beef skewers

Ginger-soy beef skewers with zucchini noodle salad: one of the many tasty low-carb diet options

The obesity epidemic in Australia  is resulting in an alarming increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes.

Approximately 1 million Australian adults have type 2 diabetes and it is estimated over 2 million people are pre-diabetic and are at high risk of developing this disease.

infographic about prevalence of diabetes That’s around 13 per cent of our entire population! It’s easy to see why our health researchers have made it a priority to discover better ways to prevent and manage this serious disease.

To better understand the importance of diet when managing type 2 diabetes, we undertook one of the largest and complex diet and lifestyle intervention studies in Australia, in collaboration with the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and the University of South Australia.

The two year study compared different dietary approaches for managing type 2 diabetes: a low carbohydrate, high protein, high healthy fat diet and a traditional high-unrefined carbohydrate, low fat diet. All participants also participated in a supervised exercise program.

Significant results

One of the most significant findings for those people who followed the low carbohydrate diet was a staggering 40 per cent reduction in the amount of diabetes medication they required, twice as effective as the high carbohydrate, low fat diet. The low carbohydrate diet was also three times more effective at reducing blood glucose spikes across the day.

The results of the study is creating a paradigm shift in our thinking about how we should manage type 2 diabetes.

For the millions of Australians who are overweight and have or at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, this study could make a real difference to the diet and lifestyle decisions they make.

We are working hard to provide a clear and comprehensive overview of the science and benefits behind the low carbohydrate diet – so we’ve developed the CSIRO Low-Carb Diet book. The book provides an easy to follow, structured meal plans including recipes, clear descriptions of low-carb versus high-carb foods, shopping lists and a complete exercise plan.

Purchase the CSIRO Low-Carb Diet Book