Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Even Moderate Carb Restriction Shows Benefit

Reduction in urinary albumin excretion with a moderate low-carbohydrate diet in patients with type 2 diabetes: a 12-month intervention

Introduction: Urinary albumin excretion (UAE) is a marker of the early phase of diabetic nephropathy. Although a low-carbohydrate diet (LCD) has been shown to effectively improve glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2DM), its effects on UAE remain unknown.
Patients and methods: A total of 124 patients (mean age ± standard deviation, 61.6 ± 9.2 years) with T2DM were instructed to consume a moderate LCD (1734 ± 416 kcal/d; % carbohydrate:fat:protein = 38:37:19) for 12 months. We measured the levels of UAE, hemoglobin A1c, fasting plasma glucose, fasting serum insulin (IRI), and the serum lipid profiles in the patients and recorded their dosages of antidiabetic drugs during this 12-month period.
Results: Of the 124 patients, 68 were normoalbuminuric, 50 were microalbuminuric, and six were macroalbuminuric at baseline. The patients had relatively good compliance with the moderate LCD diet. After 12 months, the mean levels of hemoglobin A1c, fasting plasma glucose, IRI, homeostasis model assessment-estimated insulin resistance, and the body mass index of all participants significantly decreased (P = 0.003 for IRI and P < 0.001 for the other parameters). Among the microalbuminuric patients (n = 50), remission to normoalbuminuria was frequently achieved (52%) and the geometric mean UAE significantly decreased by 53% (95% confidence interval: 43, 62) over 12 months (P < 0.001). After patients taking an angiotensin 2 receptor blocker were excluded, the UAE significantly decreased by 41% (n = 26, 95% confidence interval: 25, 54; P < 0.001). Moreover, the reduction in UAE was significantly and positively correlated with a reduction in homeostasis model assessment-estimated insulin resistance levels (rs = 0.308; P = 0.031).
Conclusion: A moderate LCD (38% carbohydrate diet) achieved a remarkable reduction in UAE over 12 months in microalbuminuric patients with T2DM.


This is not a particularly low carb or high fat diet, but the positive results after 12 months were significant.  Even moderately restricted carb intake - 38% of kcal, ~1750 kcal per day, or 166 grams/day of carbs, which is quite a lot for a pre-diabetic but still fewer than the 40% of kcal from carbs recommended on the Zone Diet - proved therapeutic.

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