diabetes

Kidney function in people with type 2 diabetes enhanced by low-carb and high-protein meals, new study identifies

Individuals with type 2 diabetes can enhance their kidney function by increasing their protein intake and consuming less carbs, latest research suggests.

The idea that people with type 2 diabetes who follow high-protein diets are more at risk of damaging their kidneys has been discredited by a team of scientists from the Liverpool University Hospitals Foundation Trust.

The former chair of the European Renal Nutrition Working Group, Professor Denis Fouque believed that: “A high-protein diet may boost a pre-existing low-grade chronic kidney disease which is often prevalent in people with diabetes, and that it might even increase the risk of new cases of kidney diseases.”

However, new findings have found that low-carb diets are valuable to those with type 2 diabetes, with a recent study even claiming it can reverse the condition.

Previous trials have recorded that 46% of individuals with type 2 diabetes who adopted a low-carb meal plan for two years put their condition into remission.

The team of academics examined nearly 150 older adults with type 2 diabetes who implemented a low-carb diet for more than two years.

The participants under analysis either had usual kidney function or slight kidney disease.

According to the results, more than half of the participants enhanced their kidney function after following a low-carb diet.

Additionally, the average glomerular filtration rate also improved by 2.4 units.

Surprisingly, the findings also reveal that age does not trigger kidney deterioration, with the majority of the participants in their sixties.

Lead researcher, Dr David Unwin said: “This is contrary to what might be expected with older people who have type 2 diabetes due to the effects of the disease and the fact that our kidney function decreases with age.

“We suspect high blood sugar is central to the damage that people with type 2 diabetes experience to their kidney function, so reducing blood sugar levels seems to be a logical first step.”

Dr Duane Mellor, of the British Dietetic Association, said: “For someone with healthy kidneys, protein is not a problem, and for people with kidney disease it’s important not to restrict protein too much as it can lead to malnutrition.”

The full set of results can now be accessed in the journal Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity.

Editor’s note: the Low Carb Program is an award-winning programme that supports people to improve glycemic control and achieve sustainable weight loss through adopting a sustainable low carbohydrate diet. New members can get 30% off a year’s membership here.

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