This position statement draws on the latest evidence
and provides practical advice and information for people with
diabetes considering a low carbohydrate eating plan.
Diabetes Australia has developed this statement in response to enquiries from
people with diabetes, health professionals and the general
1. For people with type 2 diabetes, there is reliable evidence
that lower carb eating can be safe and useful in lowering average
blood glucose levels in the short term (up to 6 months). It can
also help reduce body weight and help manage heart disease risk
factors such as raised cholesterol and raised blood pressure.
2. For people with type 1 diabetes, a number of recent studies
are reporting benefits of lower carb eating, however these studies
are limited in their size and design and do not provide strong
evidence of benefit. Diabetes Australia believes high
quality, large scale, longerterm studies are necessary to further
establish the effectiveness and safety of low carb eating for
people with type 1 diabetes.
3. All people with any type of diabetes who wish to follow a low
carb diet should do so in consultation with their diabetes
4. People with diabetes who commence low carb eating should
monitor their blood glucose levels and, if necessary, talk to their
doctor about the need to adjust their diabetes medication to reduce
the risk of hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose).
5. People with diabetes considering low carb eating are
encouraged to seek personalised advice from an Accredited
Practising Dietitian experienced in diabetes management. There are
some practical considerations that need to be taken into account to
ensure the eating plan is safe and enjoyable, provides adequate
nutrition for general health, is culturally appropriate and fits
into the person's lifestyle.
6. People with diabetes considering low carb eating should be
aware of possible side effects (such as tiredness, headaches and
nausea) and seek advice from their health care team if
7. Low carb eating may not be safe and is not recommended for
children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, people at risk of
malnutrition, people with kidney or liver failure, or those with a
history of disordered eating or some rare metabolic conditions.
8. People with type 1 diabetes may experience sudden drops in
blood glucose levels and be at a higher risk of hypoglycaemia when
following a low carb eating plan. They should talk with their
diabetes healthcare team before starting low carb eating.
9. All Australians, including people who choose to follow a low
carb eating plan, should be encouraged to eat foods proven to be
beneficial to good health. These include whole fruit and
vegetables, wholegrains, dairy foods, nuts, legumes, seafood, fresh
meat and eggs.
10. All Australians should be encouraged to limit their intake
of foods that are high in energy, carbohydrate or salt, including
processed foods such as sugary drinks, chips, cakes, biscuits,
pastries and lollies.