Low-carb diets in type 1 diabetes

Increasingly, low-carbohydrate diets are being seen as an effective way to help improve T1D management. What should GPs know about this approach?

Need to know:

  • There is insufficient evidence comparing low-carb (LC) diets with standard high-carb diets in people with T1D.
  • Modest quality evidence shows that LC diets improve HbA1c in people with T1D, with less glucose variability and low risk of both DKA and severe hypos.
  • While the scientific evidence is growing, LC diets can be considered an option for people with T1D and be supported by GPs, specialists and allied health professionals.
  • Nutritional ketosis is a normal physiological state characterised by the burning of fat for energy when carbohydrate intake is low, leading to a controlled increase in ketone bodies.
  • Nutritional ketosis is very different to life-threatening ketoacidosis, which occurs as a result of relative or absolute insulin deficiency, and is characterised by an uncontrolled and excessive production of ketones.
  • As the evidence for LC diets increases and they become more popular for a