The study of diet for type 1 diabetes is expected to start this fall. Ethical approval has been granted and the project has been expanded: the diabetes clinic at Uppsala University Hospital will also participate in the project.
This week US researchers reported that a strict low-carbohydrate diet can help people with type 1 diabetes stabilize their blood sugar, with no apparent serious side effects. The New York Times published an article about the study: How a Low-Carb Diet Might Aid People With Type 1 Diabetes.
This is one of many studies that show how a low-carbohydrate diet can help people with type 1 diabetes to gain control of their blood sugar, but these studies all have methodological weaknesses. Some are small and short-term, others lack a control group. None of them meet the quality requirements most commonly placed on studies used as a basis for national treatment recommendations.
Study given Ethical Review Board approval
The urgent need for good quality studies is why the Dietary Science Foundation decided in 2015 to invest in a randomized controlled study evaluating the effect of a strict low-carbohydrate diet in type 1 diabetes. Last fall we had the pleasure of announcing that the study had received funding from the insurance company Skandia, the Swedish Diabetes Foundation and Stockholm County Council. The study has now been given ethical approval by the Ethical Review Board in Stockholm.
“We just started recruiting patients and our goal is to get the study going properly this fall,” says Anneli Björklund, associate professor and senior physician at Karolinska University Hospital, who is heading the project.
The largest study so far on diet and type 1 diabetes
Patients from the diabetes clinic at Uppsala University Hospital will also participate in the study. The goal is to carry out the world’s largest study of how a low carbohydrate diet affects blood sugar, insulin requirements and blood lipids in type 1 diabetes.
Of the 50,000 Swedes who have type 1 diabetes only 25% manage to stay within the recommended target range for blood sugar levels. Many people have such high levels that they run a greatly increased risk of cardiovascular disease. If it is possible to use diet to lower blood sugar without causing any serious side effects many of these people will be able to extend their lifespans and improve their quality of life.
Thank you to everyone who supports us and has contributed to this project. It’s a vitally important study!
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Ann Fernholm is a science journalist, author and PhD in molecular biotechnology. She is also the founder of The Dietary Science Foundation and runs a blog in Swedish.