Historically, doctors, researchers, and health care professionals have avoided suggesting a low-carb diet to people—especially children—with diabetes. Why, you ask? Well, it’s always been a concern that not enough carbohydrates in the diet can lead to hypoglycemia, a condition that occurs when a person’s blood sugar drops dangerously low, which can affect growth and development. Despite this, many integrative and functional medicine doctors have been suggesting a low-carb diet plan for diabetes for years,, and many people—including the parents of type 1 diabetics—have had amazing success with low-carb nutrition plans.
Thanks to a new study, low-carb diets for diabetics might become standard practice in the future. The research, published in the journal Pediatrics, showed that children on a low-carb, high-protein diet displayed "exceptional" blood sugar control over a period of two years. The children participating in the study were still taking insulin throughout the study period, but at lower levels than is typically needed with a standard American diet. Even better: There were low rates of complication and no evidence of stunted growth. Hemoglobin A1C is a common way to measure blood sugar levels in the long term, and normal levels are anything under 5.7 percent. Results showed that the average levels of the children in the study fell from 7 percent to 5.67 percent, which is considered normal—even for non-diabetics.
Belinda Lennerz, an instructor of pediatric endocrinology at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School and the lead author of the study, told the New York Times, "Their blood sugar control seemed almost too good to be true… It’s nothing we typically see in the clinic for type 1 diabetes."
So what did the kids’ diet actually look like? The low-carb, high-protein diets included lots of seafood, nuts, meat, unsweetened yogurt, and nonstarchy vegetables. It required substituting lower-glycemic options like almond flour for regular flour and avoiding added sugars. That’s not an easy (or cheap!) way to live, but if a person can afford it and if motivated, it could help them achieve normal blood sugar. In fact, it’s the same diet Dr. Carrie Diulus—orthopedic surgeon, mbg health expert, and revitalize speaker—uses to manage her type 1 diebates.
Read up on how salt affects diabetes.