A diet low in carbohydrates but high in animal fat and protein doesn’t seem to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in women.
The findings, were a bit surprising in that most doctors and nutritionists recommend a low-fat diet to prevent type 2 diabetes.
For this study, researchers examined the association between low-carb diets and the risk of diabetes among 85,059 women participating in the Nurse’s Health Study. The data included 20 years of follow-up.
Women were ranked according to what they ate.
“We calculated a low-carbohydrate diet score based on the women’s percent consumption of fat, protein and carbohydrate,” researchers explained. “A higher score reflected a higher intake of fat and protein and a lower intake of carbohydrate. Therefore, the higher a woman’s score, the more closely she followed a low carb-diet, and the lower her score, the more closely she followed a low-fat diet.”
Women with a higher score did not have a heightened risk of diabetes. In fact, they seemed to have a small decreased risk when they derived their fat and protein from vegetable rather than animal sources.
Such a low-carb diet is similar to a healthy Atkins diet, meaning one which does not include large amounts of animal fat and animal protein
Type 2 diabetes, which is associated with overweight and obesity, is a pressing health problem around the world.
While low-fat, high-carb diets are often recommended, the long-term effects of such a regimen are not known.
People who reduce their carb intake generally take in more total and saturated fat and less whole grains, cereal fiber, fruit and vegetables, which can heighten the risk of type 2 diabetes.