Weight-loss induced by carbohydrate restriction does not negatively affect health-related quality of life and cognition in people with type 2 diabetes: A randomised controlled trial

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Background & aims: We evaluated the effect of weight loss induced by dietary carbohydrate restriction on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and cognition in type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Methods: In this randomised parallel trial, 72 adults with T2D and overweight/obesity (mean ± SD, HbA1c: 57 ± 8 mmol/mol and BMI: 33 ± 5 kg/m2) were randomly assigned to a carbohydrate-reduced high-protein diet (CRHP: C30E%-P30E%-F40E%) or conventional diabetes diet (CD: C50E%-P17E%-F33E%) for 6 weeks, targeting a 6% weight loss. HRQoL was assessed from the short form 36 (SF-36) questionnaire, including physical and mental component summary (PCS and MCS) scores; global cognition, verbal memory, attention and psychomotor speed, and executive function were assessed from a neuropsychological test battery.

Results: Both diet groups achieved a 5.8 kg weight loss and improved PCS (median [25th;75th percentiles], CD: 2.7 [1.1; 4.2] vs. CRHP: 2.1 [0.7; 3.7]), with no difference between diets. The CRHP diet resulted in a clinically relevant improvement of MCS, albeit non-significantly different compared with the change after the CD diet (2.0 [-0.7; 4.8], p = 0.15). Global cognition, attention, and verbal memory were unaffected by the CRHP diet, which selectively worsened the Symbol Digit Modality Test assessing psychomotor speed when compared with the CD diet (-4.1 [-7.2;-1.1], p < 0.01).

Conclusion: Physical health improved by weight loss independently of macronutrient distribution, while mental health and cognition may be affected by the amount of carbohydrate, protein and fat in the diet. Collectively, our data suggest that weight loss through moderate carbohydrate restriction has no clinically important impact on HRQoL and global cognition in patients with T2D. 

Registered under ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier no. NCT03814694.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1605-1612
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Carbohydrate restriction, Cognition, Dietary intervention, Health-related quality of life, Type 2 diabetes, Weight loss

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