Efficacy of low carbohydrate diet for type 2 diabetes mellitus management: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials


      • Trials in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus revealed inconsistent results.
      • This meta-analysis is the first one to evaluate the efficacy of low carbohydrate diet for type 2 diabetes management.
      • The low carbohydrate diet intervention had a positive effect on HbA1c, triglycerides and HDL cholesterol concentrations.
      • Short term intervention of low carbohydrate diet was effective for weight loss.



      The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to assess the efficacy of Low Carbohydrate Diet (LCD) compared with a normal or high carbohydrate diet in patients with type 2 diabetes.


      We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library database for randomized controlled trials. Researches which reported the change in weight loss, blood glucose, and blood lipid levels were included.


      A total of 9 studies with 734 patients with diabetes were included. Pooled results suggested that LCD had a significantly effect on HbA1c level (WMD: −0.44; 95% CI: −0.61, −0.26; P = 0.00). For cardiovascular risk factors, the LCD intervention significantly reduced triglycerides concentration (WMD: −0.33; 95% CI: −0.45, −0.21; P = 0.00) and increased HDL cholesterol concentration (WMD: 0.07; 95% CI: 0.03, 0.11; P = 0.00). But the LCD was not associated with decreased level of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Subgroup analyses indicated that short term intervention of LCD was effective for weight loss (WMD: −1.18; 95% CI: −2.32, −0.04; P = 0.04).


      The results suggested a beneficial effect of LCD intervention on glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes. The LCD intervention also had a positive effect on triglycerides and HDL cholesterol concentrations, but without significant effect on long term weight loss.


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