Diet: A low-carb diet reduces the risk of diabetes - without losing weight

Reduced risk of diabetes through proper nutrition

Researchers have now found that a low-carbohydrate diet can benefit people at risk of type 2 diabetes even if they do not lose weight.

The latest Ohio State University study found that a low carbohydrate diet produced health benefits in people with type 2 diabetes. It is not necessary for those affected to lose weight. The results of the study were published in the journal Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight.

What did the low-carbohydrate diet do?

The study looked at what happens to people with metabolic syndrome (combination of high blood pressure, obesity, sugar and fat metabolism disorders) if they follow a low-carbohydrate diet but do not lose weight. The researchers found that more than half of the people in the study no longer met the criteria for a metabolic syndrome immediately after a four-week low-carb diet. However, the current study included only 16 men and women.

The number of participants was very small

Metabolic syndrome includes a number of factors that increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, excess body fat at the waist and unusually low levels of HDL cholesterol as well as high triglyceride levels are health risks that should not be underestimated as individual factors. When they work together, they become a serious danger.

Does weight loss play a role in a low-carb diet?

After consuming a low-carbohydrate diet, more than half of the participants (five men and four women) found that their metabolic syndrome was reversed, even though they were eating a diet that intentionally contained enough calories to keep their weight stable. Previous studies had already shown that a low-carbohydrate diet could be beneficial for people with metabolic syndrome and diabetes, but there was debate as to whether this was a result of the diet or a result of weight loss. There is no doubt that people with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes benefit from a low-carbohydrate diet, but they usually lose weight through this diet. One of the prevailing thoughts is that weight loss drives the health benefits. This was clearly not the case here, the authors of the study report.

Participants should not lose weight

The authors believe that restricting carbohydrate intake improves a variety of metabolic problems without losing weight. Obviously, the quality of the diet is of great importance. Over a period of about four months, each participant ate controlled forms of nutrition for three months: high in carbohydrates, moderately low in carbohydrates and low in carbohydrates. There was a two-week break between each different form of nutrition. The order in which the participants consumed the various forms of nutrition was determined at random. It was also ensured that the participants did not lose weight by providing them with prepared meals with an amount of calories that corresponded to their normal energy consumption.

Positive effects of a low-carbohydrate diet

Eating a low-carb diet led to a variety of positive effects, especially lower triglycerides and improved cholesterol levels. Despite the fact that the low-carbohydrate diet contained 2.5 times more saturated fat than the high-carbohydrate diet, it reduced the saturated fat in the blood and was associated with an increase in the size of the cholesterol particles in the blood, which increases the risk of cardiovascular Diseases are reduced, the authors say. There was also evidence of increased fat burning efficiency after a low-carb diet and an improvement in blood sugar levels. However, no statistically significant improvements in blood pressure or insulin resistance were observed.

Weight loss could improve results even further

Even a modest restriction on carbohydrates is enough to reverse the metabolic syndrome in some people, but other people have to limit their carbohydrate consumption even more, the researchers explain. Due to the study design, the waist circumference was not considered as the cause of the metabolic syndrome. If it had also been the goal to lose weight, far more people would have been classified as disease-free after the low-carbohydrate diet, according to the researchers. However, this study does not address the potential long-term benefits and challenges of a low-carb diet, which is why long-term diet studies in people with metabolic syndrome are now required. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Parker N. Hyde / Teryn N. Sapper / Christopher D. Crabtree and others: Dietary carbohydrate restriction improves metabolic syndrome independent of weight loss, Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight, (retrieval : 22.06.2019)

Video: Dr. David Ludwig - The Carbohydrate Insulin Model of Obesity (January 2022).