Australian Researchers Develop Low Carb, High Protein And Fat Diet Intended To Fight Diabetes

Adelaide researchers have developed a diet and exercise program which has proven to be highly effective in reducing the burden of type 2 diabetes, with an average 40 per cent reduction in medication levels. The diet incorporates an eating pattern that is very low in carbohydrates and higher in protein and unsaturated fats.

The program is based on the findings from a $1.3 million National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC) funded study, which compared the low carbohydrate eating pattern with the current best practice approach of managing type 2 diabetes with a high-unrefined carbohydrate, low fat diet.

Here is a sample meal plan provided to the intervention group in the research study:


  • 30g Heart 1st breakfast cereal with 100ml skim milk
  • 1 X Ryvita crispbread topped with grilled tomato and cracked pepper

  • Lunch: Tuna, Ricotta and Avocado Salad

  • 60g reduced fat ricotta cheese
  • 100g tin of tuna (in springwater)
  • 1 cup salad vegetables
  • ½ avocado (80g)

  • Dinner: Chicken and Almond Stir-Fry

  • 150g (raw weight) lean chicken breast
  • 2 cups cooked mixed vegetables
  • basil, ginger, chilli, garlic
  • 10g (2 tsp) canola oil
  • 40g (1/4 cup) chopped almonds

  • Snacks

  • 25g of pecan nuts
  • 100g low fat yogurt
  • tea or coffee with 100ml of skim milk

  • "The research results are ground breaking," Associate Professor Grant Brinkworth, principal research scientist at the CSIRO said.

    "Health professionals have been divided over the best dietary approach for managing type 2 diabetes, and the ongoing uncertainty is a hotly debated topic amongst clinicians and researchers.

    "The most amazing benefit of the low carbohydrate diet was the reduction in the patient’s medication levels, which was more than double the amount than the volunteers following the lifestyle program with the high-carbohydrate diet plan.

    "Some of the participants managed to cease their medications altogether, and many described the study as life changing.

    "This research shows that traditional dietary approaches for managing type 2 diabetes could be outdated, we really need to review the current dietary guidelines if we are serious about using the latest scientific evidence to reduce the impact of the disease."

    The two year research intervention was a collaboration between CSIRO, Adelaide University, Flinders University and the University of South Australia, with the exercise program delivered in partnership with community fitness centres.

    Medication requirements were also monitored and supervised with appropriate oversight from physicians.

    Professor Campbell Thompson from the University of Adelaide said there were further insights on the clinical outcomes.

    "The very low carbohydrate diet presented greater improvements in the blood cholesterol profile, by increasing the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol and decreasing triglyceride levels to a greater extent than the traditional high carbohydrate, low fat diet approach," Professor Thompson said.

    "Both diets achieved similar reductions in bad (LDL) cholesterol levels, often a concern with some low carbohydrate diets.

    "The variability of blood glucose levels throughout the day is also emerging as a strong independent risk factor for diabetes complications. In our study the very low carbohydrate diet was more effective in reducing the number and levels of blood glucose spikes and dips, flattening the blood glucose profile over a 24-hour period."

    Type 2 diabetes is one of the greatest global health challenges of the 21st century, with more than 350 million people suffering from the condition.

    Obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes and given the growing increases in obesity and sedentary lifestyles globally, the world is facing a veritable tsunami of the disease.

    In Australia alone, an estimated 800,000 Australian adults have type 2 diabetes with many more undiagnosed. In 2008-09, of the estimated $1507 million spent on the health care of diabetes in Australia, $490 million was spent on diabetes-related medications.

    Based on the findings from this study, implementing a lifestyle program that incorporates this effective eating pattern at a national level could save up to $200 million annually through reductions in diabetes-related medication expenditure alone.


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      Interesting that they refer to it as a 'low carbohydrate diet' considering the high proportion of carbohydrates in that breakfast. Still, sounds like they got some good outcomes, and that food sounds delicious.

        Yeah, about 45g or so of carbs in the breakfast, but then only another 50 or so for the rest of the day, so the total carbs stays pretty low, and that CSIRO cereal and milk give you a lot of nutrition as well as a low GI of 46 for the cereal, so it makes sense, and is similar to something people already would eat for breakfast, so is easier to undertake for some people than some other options I guess.

      Glad its out there, but eating plants and mainly raw food (nuts, seeds etc) has been curing (read: no more medication needed and symptom free) type II for many many years. Glad a food based approach is getting some good press.

      Like the idea, raised my eyebrows a bit with the actual menu. High fat.. yet they use loads of low fat items, including low fat yoghurt which is likely to be higher in sugar.

      They clearly believe saturated fats are still the devil. I'm not so sure.

        Yeah this puzzled me too. Why would you take out the part that makes you feel full for the longest?

        Plenty of fats in the nuts, oil and avocado.
        It is more about glycemic index and glycemic load by the looks of it.
        Either way, it got results in a pretty solid study, the food is quite reasonable both from a cost and edibility and this is just one page out of the larger menu.

          The type of oil is important.

      I'd just like to point out that Skim milk has more carbs than full cream milk. If this was a low carb diet, they should take out milk altogether.

        I've heard this before. but looking in my fridge now, full cream milk is 4.7 g per 100gms, and skim is 4.8g per 100g, so not enough difference to worry about when only having 100ml.

        The entire day's menu is under 100g of carbs, so it is pretty low carb even with the milk, and the milk is an easy way to get some calcium, protein, vitamin A and C into the diet.

      Is the example menu from the low carb / high protein and fat diet? Because it sure looks like a high carb / low fat diet.

      By my calcs it is only 94g of carbs for the entire day, approx 40gms is in the breakfast, which is a really low GI specialist cereal designed by the CSIRO (GI 46), so that classifies as a low carb diet for most people.

      I must get out my CSIRO Diabetes cookbook and compare recipes - pretty sure they are extremely similar, and that's a few years old now.

      Well, that's diet sorted, thanks guys.

      P.S. You're fired!

      Good to see that there is some funded research being done into this approach. It has been advocated outside of medical circles for quite some time, and has seen a reasonable number of people embarking on it push their type 2 diabetes into remission.

      I'm not so sure that these guys "discovered" this approach though, given the amount of pre-existing "data" around, and it isn't what the LCHF proponents would consider that low carb. Ultimately though, for T2s, taking the carbs out of the diet and not adhering to the Government advised levels is the only way to reduce the impact of the condition.

      As is often said, "Eat to your meter".

      These people have discovered nothing. What they need to discover (for themselves, as it's already known and published) is that they should stop this low-fat stuff, go full fat on everything and reduce their carbs by more than 50%. If they eat 30g per day they'll get a much better result. They should be able to get 50% or more fully off all meds. That's what people like Jeff Volek, Eric Westman etc do

      How silly. They think they discovered the low carb high fat diet? People have used that diet or a ketogenic diet for a long long time. I've been on it more than 5 years myself.

      I have a type2 diabetic friend put himself on a no carb ketogenic diet to loose weight, relying on ketosis rather than dietary glucose for energy.. he both lost weight and found his insulin requirements had dropped massively. He happened to be involved in a hospital run clinical trial some months after starting this and they too were extremely surprised and interested in how little insulin (almost none) he needed to manage his diabetes.

      Given ketogegenic diets are also not required to be a permanent feature in the successful treatiment of epilepsy and autism, the findings of this study make me wonder if some researchers in the past were correct in suggesting the 'bad gut microbe' theory as being the trigger for diabetes, with elimination of those microbes 'curing' the condition. after all it's our gut microbes feeding us bacteria poop which constitutes digestion .. Irrespective, if it works, it works

        I had been having hypoglycemic episodes 1-2 times a day in December 2016. I found a product in the USA that put me in Ketosis in 1 hour, and I have had 1 Hypo episode in 3 months.

      Canola Oil? Really? I'm with Dr Axe on this one.

      Hello, could someone please direct me to where I could find this study?

      It is so great to see the studies on low carbs for the diabetic/hypoglycemic population.

      I was having 1-2 hypoglycemic episodes in December 2016. I found a product in the US that puts me in Ketosis in 1 hour, and I have had 1 episode since this. So I know the low carb diet works first hand!

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