Following a low carb, high fat diet shortly after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes could lead to “clinical remission” from the condition, research suggests.

It is known from the growing evidence base that a low carb approach can help put type 2 diabetes into remissio, and now experts are exploring its impact on type 1 diabetes.

Three different case studies, documented by French researchers at Dijon University Hospital, showed the benefits of low carb treatment among adult men with newly-diagnosed type 1 diabetes.

The three men were aged between 36 and 40 years old at diagnosis. They all started a low carb, high fat diet (LCHF) shortly after being diagnosed. Clinical remission was defined as discontinuing insulin treatment for a period of at least three months.

Referred to as Patient A in the research, the first case study was diagnosed with the condition aged 36. He had no medical history and was a non-smoker. He immediately began daily insulin injections, but a month after his diagnosis he decided to start a low carb, high fat diet diet, restricting his carb intake to just 50g a day.

Within 15 days he was able to stop using insulin completely and at the time of writing has not had to since March 2015.

The second case study – Patient B – had a similar experience and was able to discontinue insulin after following a low carb diet shortly after their diagnosis. They have only used insulin once following one infectious episode, but they are now insulin-independent.

Patient C started a low carb diet nine months after they were diagnosed aged 38. Two weeks after adopting the low carb approach insulin was no longer needed. After 18 months insulin therapy was once again required at low doses of around 16 units per day. HbA1c remained very well controlled on the LCHF diet with insulin.

“We report here, for the first time, the cases of three T1D patients who experienced clinical remission after commencing an LCHF diet soon after their diagnosis,” said the researchers.

“Implementation of such a diet resulted in optimal glycaemic control while the frequency of hypoglycemia was low, although the effect on lipid parameters was variable. In any case, the LCHF diet, if introduced promptly, could preserve beta cell function in patients with residual insulin secretion at diagnosis.

“Thus, an LCHF diet appears to be a feasible therapeutic option in self-motivated adults with T1D, provided that their lipid parameters are carefully controlled, and early introduction of the LCHF diet may well lead to clinical remission of T1D.”

The findings have been published in the journal Diabetes &Metabolism.

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