diabetes workplace wellness

Role of Low-Carb Diet Note in Type 1 Diabetes Study

Helping employees manage chronic disease like diabetes — improving personal health while reducing a business’ overall health costs — is an important part of well-run workplace wellness programs.

A primary chronic disease that requires great focus and care: Diabetes. It’s a area where nutrition and diet can play important roles.

Indeed, we have noted that Interactive Health has found that:

  • 30-39% of Americans are estimated to be living with prediabetes
  • An estimated 90% of those with prediabetes are not aware of their risk
  • Although more effective, only 25-35% of all those at risk of prediabetes are identified through our targeted A1c testing

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention outlines various keys to build a workplace wellness program that focuses on diabetes. Moreover, the CDC offers a wide range of important information about diabetes and the workplace in its Workplace Health Resource Center.

Now a new study focuses on Type 1 Diabetes and finds, according to MedPage Today, that “among people with type 1 diabetes, following a very low-carbohydrate diet (VLCD) can aid in achieving glycemic control.”

The study, published in Pediatrics, is titled “Management of Type 1 Diabetes With a Very Low–Carbohydrate Diet.” MedPage notes that the study “included 316 responses from both adults with type 1 diabetes and the parents of children with type 1 diabetes.”

The authors outline the challenge: “Despite major medical and technological advances, the management of T1DM remains suboptimal. With an average overall hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) of 8.2%, only 20% of children and 30% of adults achieve the glycemic targets of HbA1c <7% for adults and <7.5% for children as set forth by the ADA to reduce long-term complications. The greatest challenge in this regard involves difficulty controlling postprandial glycemia, which is a major determinant of HbA1c. Even with modern insulin analogs and technical advances, a mismatch between carbohydrate absorption and insulin action typically exists after meals. Beyond a point, measures to lower postprandial hyperglycemia inevitably increase risk for hypoglycemia, with potentially life-threatening consequences.”

They conclude: “We observed measures of glycemic control in the near-normal range, low rates of hypoglycemia and other adverse events, and generally high levels of satisfaction with health and diabetes control. These findings are without precedent among people with T1DM, revealing a novel approach to the prevention of long-term diabetes complications.”

And how did a very low carbohydrate diet (VLCD) work?

The authors state: “We suggest that a VLCD may allow for exceptional control of T1DM without increased risk of adverse events. This possibility is mechanistically plausible because of the dominant effects of dietary carbohydrates on postprandial glycemia and the lower insulin doses required with a VLCD. The results, if confirmed in clinical trials, indicate that the chronic complications of T1DM might be prevented by diet. In light of study limitations, these findings by themselves should not be interpreted as sufficient to justify a change in diabetes management.”