Which Diet Is Optimal for Controlling HbA1c?

A low-carb diet is superior to guideline-recommended diabetic diets in reducing glycemic control and improving weight loss, according to results of a systemic review presented at Digestive Disease Week 2018.

To conduct their review, the researchers searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Web of Science from inception through November 1, 2017, for randomized controlled trials that assessed the outcomes of diet on glycemic control and weight loss in patients with diabetes. All studies included in the analysis reported on macronutrient breakdown.


TAF Is Superior to TDF in Reducing Bone, Renal Risks

More Digestive Disease Week 2018 coverage

Participants in the special diet arms of the studies consumed low carbohydrate, Mediterranean, vegetarian, ketogenic, and high-protein diets, while participants in the control groups consumed guideline-recommended diabetic diets.

Overall, 16 trials with a total of 1595 participants were included in the analysis.

Results of a pooled analysis showed that participants in the special diet arms had a greater reduction in HbA1c, greater improvements in HOMA-IR scores, and greater weight loss than those in the control groups.

Specifically, low-carbohydrate diets had the greatest effect on reducing HbA1c.

“A low carbohydrate diet plan appears to be most effective at improving glycemic control and is superior to traditional diabetic diet recommendations,” the researchers conclude. “Other diet plans also compare favorably to traditional recommendations and can be considered based on specific patient needs.”

—Amanda Balbi


Jirapinyo P, Devery A, Sarker S, Williams G, Thompson CC. A comparison of diet plan outcomes in diabetes management: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Paper presented at: Digestive Disease Week 2018; June 2-5, 2018; Washington, DC. Accessed June 5, 2018.


Listen to our podcast with Dr Kim Carmichael about insulin pump use among patients with diabetes: