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Low-Fat Diet Promotes Safe Weight Loss Among Type 2 Diabetics

Posted: Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Safe weight loss without unfavorable alterations in plasma lipids or glycemic control is possible on a low-fat diet.

Although a low-fat diet has become accepted management for type 2 diabetics, the authors explain, recent controversy has focused on whether a high-monounsaturated fat diet might avoid the possible plasma triacylglycerol- and glucose-elevating effects of a high-carbohydrate diet.

Dr. William E. Connor and colleagues from Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon investigated whether a 6-week, low-fat diet would result in greater weight loss than would a high-monounsaturated fat (high-mono) diet without increasing plasma triacylglycerol concentrations or worsening glycemic control in 11 patients with type 2 diabetes.

The ad libitum low-fat diet lead to a significant weight loss (p < 0.001), the authors report, whereas the high-mono diet did not. Subjects assigned to the low-fat diet consumed 212 fewer kilocalories daily than did those assigned to the high-mono diet. Both diets lowered the mean plasma LDL-cholesterol concentrations below 100 mg/dL and similarly reduced total, LDL-, and HDL-cholesterol concentrations.

Glycemic control, as assessed by plasma glucose, fructosamine, and hemoglobin A1c levels, did not differ between the 2 diets, the researchers note.

"The unique feature of this study was that an ad libitum low-fat, high-complex carbohydrate diet caused weight loss in type 2 diabetes patients, whereas an ad libitum high-mono diet did not lead to weight loss," the authors conclude. "The low-fat diet did not cause the plasma triacylglycerol concentrations to increase and did not worsen glycemic control, contrary to past studies in which 'eucaloric' low-fat diets were prescribed to maintain body weight."

Dr. Connor added, "I would think the differences would become more pronounced with longer adherence to the low fat diet,". American Diabetic Association recommendations "call for dietary fat, which is fairly flexible, so that our particular diet would probably be covered by their recommendations."

Source: Diabetes In

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