Low carbohydrate diet improves physical and general health of
6 October 2014
A low-carbohydrate diet has a good effect not only on blood
glucose, but also on physical functions, bodily pain and general
health, according to a two-year study at Linköping University.
The trial studied the effects on blood glucose and blood lipids
of a low-carbohydrate diet compared to a low-fat diet. Patients in
the study were randomly divided into two groups – one for each diet
type and were expected to adhere to the respective diet throughout
the study period. It was found that both diet-groups reduced weight
equally but the effect on blood glucose was better in the
low-carbohydrate group. These results were previously published in
the journal Diabetologia.
The effects of a low-carbohydrate diet and a low-fat diet on
wellbeing have now been analysed in another study. A standardised
analysis based on a questionnaire was performed. After 12 months in
the trial, the low-carbohydrate group improved in regard to the
physical component, which includes physical function, bodily pain
and general health. No improvements were seen in the low-fat group,
despite weight loss. Mental health was similar for both groups and
remained unchanged during the study period and did not differ
between the groups.
The mental health interview with the study patients revealed that
for both groups there were difficulties adhering to the diet when
they ate elsewhere than at home. There could also be problems if not
all family members followed the same diet. Both groups expected to
have health gains by adhering to the given dietary advice. The
low-carbohydrate diet group expressed that it could be difficult to
refrain from potatoes and pasta. The diet for the low-fat group was
described as relatively inexpensive and tasty. Benefits of the
low-carbohydrate diet were that the patients felt less hungry and
that their appetite for sweets disappeared.
“The result is interesting; it provides an additional argument
that a low-carbohydrate diet is beneficial in diabetes,” says Dr
Hans Guldbrand who led the first study. “We also found no adverse
effects on mental health with the low-carbohydrate diet, which an
earlier study had indicated."
Guldbrand H, et al. Randomization to a low-carbohydrate
diet advice improves health related quality of life compared with a
low-fat diet at similar weight-loss in Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice online 21 September 2014.