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Nutrition. 2006 Nov-Dec;22(11-12):1129-36. Epub 2006 Oct 4.

Low-carbohydrate and high-fat intake among adult patients with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes mellitus.

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  • 1Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA.



This study examined baseline dietary intake, body weight, and physiologic status in patients enrolled in a dietary intervention for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).


Dietary, physiologic, and demographic information were collected at baseline from 40 adult patients with poorly controlled T2DM (glycosylated hemoglobin >7%) who participated in a clinical trial at an academic medical center in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA.


The average age at enrollment was 53.5 y (SD 8.4), average body mass index was 35.48 kg/m(2) (SD 7.0), and glycosylated hemoglobin was 8.3% (SD 1.2). Participants were predominantly white, married, and employed full time. Forty-eight percent were men. Seventy-eight percent had hyperlipidemia, and 68% had hypertension. Reported baseline daily average energy intake was 1778 kcal (SD 814), daily carbohydrate was 159 g (SD 71.5), and dietary fiber was 11.4 g (SD 5.2). The dietary composition was 35% carbohydrate, 45% fat (15% saturated fat), and 20% protein. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines recommends 45-65% of energy from carbohydrate, 20-35% from fat (<7% saturated), and 20% from protein.


These patients reported a low-carbohydrate, low-fiber, high-fat (especially saturated) diet, although they stated they are not following any of the popular low-carbohydrate diets. Patients with T2DM may find the current trend toward reducing weight through low-carbohydrate diets attractive for control of blood glucose, despite ADA recommendations. This dietary pattern may represent a popular trend that extends beyond our particular study and, if so, has serious cardiovascular implications in this vulnerable population of T2DM patients.

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