Comparison of Low-fat and Low-carb Diets

Written by Bonnie Sanders Polin PhD

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Check out for healthy festive recipes for the entire meal, including our very popular crustless pumpkin pie and pumpkin bars. There are also recipes for autumn apple pies and cakes.

ADA Launches Educational Initiative
The ADA has launched a new initiative, "Stop Diabetes," which will better educate Americans on the physical, emotional, and economic toll of the disease.

JDRF Establishes Plan to Test Type 1 Diabetes Drug
Researchers believe that the incidence of type 1 diabetes in children five and younger will double by 2020. Many think this is due to environmental issues, but it is not known exactly why this is occurring.

On the positive side, researchers are currently in the early stages of developing an oral medication to control the autoimmune response in type 1 diabetes patients. As you probably know, type 1 diabetes occurs when the body mistakenly attacks the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is funding a trial at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in which they hope to re-train immune cells to tolerate the body's insulin-producing cells instead of attacking them.

They have established a two-year plan to evaluate the drug, hoping that someday it will prevent at-risk people from developing type 1 diabetes. We'll continue to follow this research.

Low-fat and Low-carbohydrate Diets Compared
In America today, we are bombarded with information about diets and cookbooks. An article in The Archives of Internal Medicine titled "Long-term effects of a very low-carbohydrate diet and a low-fat diet on mood and cognitive function" by Grant D. Brinkworth PhD et al reported that very low-carbohydrate diets are often used to promote weight loss, but the long-term effect on psychological function remains unknown. I know from first-hand experience that it's hard to stay on a restricted diet, so I was very interested in the results of this research.

A total of 106 overweight and obese participants were randomly assigned either to an energy-restricted diet (very low carbohydrate, high-fat) or to a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet. Changes in body weight, psychological mood disturbance, cognitive functioning, and well-being were assessed by various measurements used by psychologists (the Profile of Mood States, Beck Depression Inventory, and the Spielberger State Anxiety Inventory scores).

Over one year, both groups lost similar amounts of weight, but the participants in the low-fat diet group reported better improved mood states compared with those on the low-carbohydrate diet. Both diets had similar effects on working memory and speed processing.

New Results from ADVANCE Trial
Our final item is a study titled "Combined effects of routine blood pressure lowering and intensive glucose control on macrovascular and microvascular outcomes in patients with type 2 diabetes: New results from the ADVANCE trial" by Sopia Zoungas MD, PhD et al. This may be one of those outcomes to bring up at your next primary care appointments.

The researcher assessed the magnitude and independence of the effects of routine blood pressure lowering and intensive glucose control on clinical outcomes in patients with long-standing type 2 diabetes.

They found no correlation between the effects of routine blood pressure lowering and intensive blood control.

The researchers concluded that blood pressure lowering and intensive glucose control were independent of one another. And when combined, they produced additional reductions.

To read the abstract of this study, click here.