Low-Carb Diet Rich in Animal-Source Foods May Hike Type 2 Diabetes Risk

(HealthDay News) — For women with a history of gestational diabetes, a low-carbohydrate diet, particularly one from animal-source foods, is associated with increased risk for type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in Diabetes Care.

Wei Bao, MD, PhD, from the National Institutes of Health in Rockville, Maryland, and colleagues examined the long-term risk for type 2 diabetes in association with a low-carbohydrate dietary pattern. Data were collected from 4502 women with a history of gestational diabetes who were followed from 1991 to 2011. Diet intake information was collected every 4 years and used to calculate overall, animal, or vegetable low-carbohydrate diet scores, which represent adherence to dietary patterns.

The researchers identified 722 incident cases of type 2 diabetes during 68 897 person-years of follow-up. Comparing the highest with lowest quintiles, the multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios of type 2 diabetes were 1.36 for overall low-carbohydrate diet score (95% CI, 1.04-1.78; P=.003 for trend), 1.40 for animal low-carbohydrate diet score (95% CI, 1.06-1.84; P=.004 for trend), and 1.19 for vegetable low-carbohydrate diet score (95% CI, 0.91-1.55; P=.50 for trend).

“Among women with a history of [gestational diabetes], a low-carbohydrate dietary pattern, particularly with high protein and fat intake mainly from animal-source foods, is associated with higher type 2 diabetes risk, whereas a low-carbohydrate dietary pattern with high protein and fat intake from plant-source foods is not significantly associated with risk of [type 2 diabetes],” the researchers wrote.


  1. Bao W, Li S, Chavarro JE, et al. Low-Carbohydrate-Diet Scores and Long-term Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Among Women With a History of Gestational Diabetes: A Prospective Cohort Study. Diabetes Care. 2015;doi:10.2337/dc15-1642.