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Animal Vs. Plant-Based: Which Low-Carb Diet Is Good For Diabetics? Study

Diabetes mellitus or diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the pancreas doesn't produce any or enough insulin. Insulin helps regulate the blood sugar level by either absorbing the glucose in the blood or storing it in your body for future usage.

One of the most common health conditions to affect people, irrespective of age and gender, diabetes is of two types, type 1 and type 2. About 90 per cent of the cases diagnosed worldwide are type 2, where the body is unable to metabolise the glucose, resulting in high blood sugar levels [1].

In type 2 diabetes, the body fails to respond to insulin (the hormone that regulates blood glucose levels) produced by the cells in the pancreas. Those with type 1 diabetes, thought to be caused by an autoimmune reaction, do not produce insulin. They must test their blood glucose levels regularly and use insulin to maintain a healthy level [2].

In recent years, low-carbohydrate diets have been found to decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, this study was unable to differentiate whether this result was the result of a reduction in carbohydrate consumption or a reduction in calories in general [3].

Another study has indicated that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is not determined by a low-carbohydrate diet, but by the type of non-carbohydrate food, one consumes [4].

So, scientists looked into the aspects of whether animal or plant-based low-carb diet is good for diabetics.

Animal Vs. Plant-Based: Which Low-Carb Diet Is Good For Diabetics

Here are the important points from the study:

Point 1: At the beginning of the study, all participants were free from type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

Point 2: Participants were assessed every four years using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Scores were computed based on the percentage of total energy a person obtained from proteins, fats, and carbohydrates during the day.

Point 3: Around 40 per cent of the calories in the low-carbohydrate group came from carbohydrates. However, when the sources of dietary protein were separately considered, the researchers found considerable differences in the risk of type 2 diabetes for people on a low-carbohydrate diet.

Point 4: People who consumed mostly vegetable protein in their diets had a 6 per cent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes over the course of 30 years.

Point 5: In people who restricted their intake of refined carbohydrates, the risk of type 2 diabetes was reduced even more, at 15 per cent less than in those who followed a regular diet.

Point 6: Comparatively, those who ate primarily animal protein, and a low-carbohydrate diet had a 35 per cent higher risk of type 2 diabetes, which increased to 39 per cent when they also consumed little whole grain.

On A Final Note...

The best thing you can do to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is to maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, and eat a nutritious diet that contains few processed foods. Choosing plant-based protein, such as nuts, lentils, beans, and soya, instead of animal protein may reduce that risk further.

Story first published: Tuesday, November 29, 2022, 19:29 [IST]
Read more about: diabetes diet carbs
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