Finnish researcher concludes that low-carbohydrate diets increase risk of diabetes
A researcher at the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) has concluded that people who consume low levels of carbohydrates have a higher risk than others of coming down with type-2 diabetes.
Minna Similä, whose doctoral thesis on the subject was reviewed at the University of Helsinki on Friday, studied the impact of the glycaemic index (GI) on diabetes. The study involved data from 26,000 middle-aged men.
The GI indicates how quickly carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels.
In the mid-2000s there were reports that foods with a high GI lead to an increased risk of diabetes. Bakeries responded to the reports by developing special low GI bread, for instance.
More recently there has been a trend in Finland to eliminate carbohydrates from diet as much as possible, replacing them with protein, vegetables, and fat. Low-carb diet enthusiasts said that they were able to keep their weight under control, and there has been a belief that it would also help keep diabetes at bay.
In her research Similä found that the relation between consumption of carbohydrates and diabetes was actually inversely proportional.
Those eating food low in carbohydrates were found to be more likely to come down with type-2 diabetes, and those eating more carbohydrates and less fat and protein had a lower risk of getting the disease.
Similä also found that the glycaemic index did not work as had been believed. She noticed that there is considerable variation in how the GI works with different people; the same white bread could raise one person’s GI to 42, and that of another as high as 103.
She concluded that the keeping one’s weight under control remains the best way to prevent diabetes.
Study reveals type-2 diabetes to be much more common than previously suspected (20.1.2006)