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Which is Best for You: Low Carb or Low Fat?

If you have type 2 diabetes, you've probably wondered whether low-carb or low-fat is the best choice for weight loss. Read on to find out.

Which plan to choose?

With all the diet plans available, it's often unclear whether cutting back on fat or carbohydrates will provide the best results. Fortunately, recent studies indicate that you will have similar success no matter which you choose. Each provides a similar weight-loss effect, say researchers, and both will help you manage diabetes. The big difference: result time.

More than 100 overweight adults with type 2 diabetes were studied for their weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar control. After three months, those on the low-carb diet lost more weight and required a lower dosage of insulin than those on the low-fat diet. But, these differences evened out over the course of the one-year study.

The reasons for confusion

Low-carb diets have become popular. But low-fat, calorie-restricted diets are more commonly recommended for people with type 2 diabetes. The low-fat diets, however, are often high in carbs, which raise blood sugar levels. So it's easy to be confused. That's why lead researcher Nichola Davis, MD, MS, assistant professor of medicine at the Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, says more research is needed to determine the best weight-loss strategy.

Find the best plan for you

"We wanted to see if better glucose control was possible with a low-carbohydrate diet," says Dr. Davis. "But we found both diets to be similar in their long-term effectiveness. Given this, the most important thing for people with type 2 diabetes is to find the diet they are best able to stick with on a day-to-day basis."

Talk to your diabetes-care team—including your physician, certified diabetes educator and dietitian—to determine which dieting approach may be right for you and your lifestyle. For now, experts suggest the best diet is one that is healthy, well-balanced and tailored to your individual weight-loss needs and goals.

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