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Low-Carb Diets Better Than Low-Fat Diets at Preventing Diabetes
Date:2/7/2008

Even if coupled with high animal fat and protein, risk did not increase, study claims

THURSDAY, Feb. 7 (HealthDay News) -- 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, a new study claims.

"One study is never enough to change a recommendation, but this study is interesting in that it shows that a low-fat diet is no better than a low-carbohydrate diet in preventing type 2 diabetes," said Thomas Halton, lead author of a study in the current issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. "The one diet that did seem to show a protective effect was a vegetable-based, low-carb diet which consisted of higher amounts of vegetable fat and vegetable protein, and lower amounts of carbohydrate."

The findings, Halton added, were a bit surprising in that most doctors and nutritionists recommend a low-fat diet to prevent type 2 diabetes. "This study showed that a low-fat diet didn't really prevent type 2 diabetes in our cohort when compared to a low-carb diet. I was also surprised that total carbohydrate consumption was associated with type 2 diabetes, and that the relative risk for the glycemic load was so high."

Halton is a recent graduate of the Harvard School of Public Health and has founded his own nutrition consulting company, Fitness Plus, in Boston.

Type 2 diabetes, which is associated with overweight and obesity, is a pressing health problem around the world. In the United States, two-thirds of adults weigh more than they should.

And, according to background information in the study, some 45 percent of women and 30 percent of men in the United States are trying to lose weight at any one time.

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
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