Type 2 diabetes mellitus

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a disease of deranged blood sugar levels. The disease is on the rise and can be fatal if neglected. A new study has revealed that eating low carb foods of plant origin reduces the risk of developing this disease.

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Type 2 diabetes mellitus

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a disease in which there are elevated levels of blood sugars in fasting and post meal state. CDC data reveals that more than 37 million adults in the USA have diabetes. And 95% of these are of type 2. It commonly affects people after 45 years of age. But nowadays, even younger people are getting this disorder.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (Source: Pinterest)

In this condition, insulin production is normal. But the body cells stop responding to it. This happens due to large body mass and inactivity. Studies have shown that a low carb diet lessens the risk of this disease. But the studies fail to conclude whether it is low carb or low calories that help decrease the disease risk.

Dr. Eamon Laird who is a visiting research fellow at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland had told:

“It’s a very complex topic. We know already that consuming whole grains and plant-based foods is good for diabetes risk reduction.”

The new study

We do know that low carb foods are beneficial for prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus. And now a new study states that not only low carb diet but the type of low carb foods also matter.

This study was a prospective cohort study with 203,541 adults from the USA. These were of both genders and were followed over 30 years. At the start of the study, none of them had any cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes or cancer.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Plant protein (Source: The spruce eats)

The recruits answered a validated food frequency questionnaire every 4 years for dietary evaluation. Macronutrient amount in each diet and its contribution to calories was assessed in each individual. The low carb diet people were those in whom 40% of the calories came from carbs.

The research team analyzed the diet of each recruit for quality. The nutrients were put into 18 groups that included whole grains, nuts, fruits, vegetables, legumes, animal fat, dairy, meat and sweets and desserts.

The findings

The researchers found that a low carb diet did not lower the risk of diabetes. But when they analyzed deeper, they found that those who had a low carb diet and dietary protein from plants had a significantly lower risk of type 2 diabetes. This risk was 6% lower compared to the other groups.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Animal protein sources (Source: Bicycling magazine)

But on the other hand, people on low carb diet but with animal protein intake had 35% higher risk of type 2 diabetes. And low carb diet with animal protein and lesser whole grains had 39% increased risk of diabetes. Eamon opines:

“Advantages of the study are the big numbers and long time scale, but the exact quantity of carbohydrates they ate each day was not measured, which could lead to some inaccuracies.”

But he continues:

“From the short abstract, there is no information on the types of protein from animal foods (heavily processed usually means higher fats and sugar vs organic/non-processed, that has lower fat and sugars). We also do not know what other lifestyle factors were taken into account?”

Read here: A new Chinese study: Intermittent fasting can reverse type 2 diabetes!

Moreover, the recruits were mainly white. One cannot extrapolate the findings to other ethnic groups.