Low Carb Diet for Prediabetes

Reviewed by Dietitian Dt. SEEMA GOEL (Senior Dietician) October 20, 2023

Last updated on October 20th, 2023

In a world where convenience foods and sugar-laden treats dominate our daily lives, prediabetes has emerged as a silent epidemic. This condition, characterised by higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, often goes unnoticed until it evolves into full-blown type 2 diabetes. But there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon – the prediabetes low carb diet. In recent years, this dietary approach has gained immense popularity as a potential game-changer for individuals grappling with prediabetes. There is news on the internet that by reducing carbohydrate intake, one can stabilise blood sugar levels along with shedding excess weight and taking control of one’s health. In this blog, we’ll find the truth behind the low carb diet for prediabetes management. And whether it can be a powerful tool in the battle against prediabetes. Whether you’ve recently been diagnosed with prediabetes or simply seek a proactive approach to safeguarding your health, read on to discover how a low carb lifestyle could be your key to a healthier future.

Studies on Prediabetes Low Carbohydrate Diet

To tackle the battle of diabetes more effectively and swiftly, researchers all over the world are constantly engaging in studies to bring out feasible results that may help diabetes patients. Recently, some studies have shown a low carb diet for prediabetes patients can help lessen the chance of the onset of full-scale type 2 diabetes. These diets have shown the potential to lower sugar levels, and that too without medication.

In some research, it has been established that a prediabetes low carbohydrate diet for six straight months can bring a considerable drop in HbA1c levels compared to normal daily diets. A randomised clinical trial published in October 2022 for 150 adults found low carb prediabetes diets effectively reduced HbA1c levels in 6 months. This study is a bankable source as the individuals were from the age group of 40 to 70 years. Moreover, to increase credibility, people of different races were chosen.

The findings of such studies simply suggest that these low carb diet and prediabetes patients should stick with each other. This might be an ideal dietary approach for prediabetics, but further research is needed.

Read More: Is Mushroom Good for Diabetes Patients?

Fall in Blood Glucose Levels

According to data from the National Institute of Health, the estimated number of diabetes patients in India is more than 8 crores. And this estimate will reach 13.4 crores by the year 2045. Moreover, as the cases of diabetes rise, so do the cases of prediabetes. But a big problem with prediabetes is that a lot of its patients are undiagnosed. In prediabetes, the blood sugar has breached the normal blood sugar range. But hasn’t breached enough to go into the diabetic range. Prediabetes state vastly heightens the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart ailments.

Therefore, as soon as you are diagnosed with prediabetes, it’s high time to engage the reverse gear. Break up on the sedentary lifestyle, which involves reckless eating and no physical activity and workout. The study mentioned above took into fold such individuals. The Jama Medical Publication mentioned above included people from different ages and races for universal results.

The experts conducting this study gave the 150 subjects a low carb diet for prediabetes control and regulation. All of the 150 individuals had HbA1c between 6% to 6 9%. This randomised trial went on anywhere between September 2018 and June 2021. And for a set of 6 months, the individuals enrolled had a low carb prediabetes diet.

For the initial three months, they were given a low carb diet plan for prediabetes. In which per day carbs were just 40 grams. Then, for the last three months, the carbs intake was slightly increased. And the patients were given 60 grams of carbs every day.

Read More: Is Ash Gourd Good For Diabetes?

What are the foods in the prediabetes low carb diet?

What are the foods in the prediabetes low carb diet

The foods given to individuals as part of low carb diet for prediabetes control included:

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Bell Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Olives
  • Lean meats
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Cheese

All these are low carb prediabetes foods. However, not all were given in the same amounts, as some are high sources of fats. Remember, the foods mentioned above shouldn’t be ideal for your prediabetes low carb diet plan. Keep reading to know more.

During this trial, individuals on the low carb diet were given recipes for making flavourful low carb prediabetes meals. Moreover, they also received dietary counselling to keep them motivated. The subjects were provided with a low carb diet and prediabetes and diabetes-friendly oil sources. These included olive oil, nut oils and seed oils. Monthly education sessions were also organised to make individuals aware of their health.

The individual responses were so high that more than 95% made the follow-up visit after 6 months. This shows how the environment around someone influences them to change. And stick with healthy diets.

Post 6 months, individuals on meals of low carb for prediabetes control witnessed a drop of 0.26% in their HbA1c. Although the reduction of HbA1c was modest, no medicines were consumed in this course. So, the results of this trial were clinically relevant and scientific. Along with the drop in HbA1c, the individuals also experienced a fall in fasting blood glucose. This diet is very good for overweight prediabetes patients, as the majority of individuals in this trial lost body weight.

Read More: Is Bottle Gourd Good For Diabetes?

More Research Needed for Long-Term Adoption

Although the reduction of HbA1c levels after 6 months was modest in the trial. It was similar to the results of the DPP study group. In the Diabetes Prevention Program research group study, a similar low carb prediabetes diet was prescribed. But here, the diet was also low in fat and calories.

However, the major shortcoming of the DPP study was that the individuals enrolled in the study were all non-diabetics. The non-diabetics who were in the program witnessed a 58% fall in the risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes. This was done over 3 years. Another shortcoming of this study was the low number of participants.

So, these drawbacks of both studies advocate a follow-up study with a larger sample size. Also, including prediabetes and diabetes patients will give more realistic results. Therefore, further research is required.

In both studies, did the HbA1c drop due to a low carb diet for prediabetes? Or were there other factors involved? This is another question of research. Therefore, it’s still not very clear how HbA1c reduction happened. Whether it was caused by prediabetes low carbohydrate diet, or a reduction in calorie intake. Therefore, we say more research is needed, but the initial findings are indeed very encouraging.

Considering the strength of these studies, we can conclude these low carb diet plans for prediabetes are effective. We say so as the HbA1c and fasting blood glucose reduction happened without any anti-diabetic medication. However, the experts who conducted this study also said the conditions set for this study may not work everywhere. This is because staff constantly monitored all the 150 individuals 24×7. Moreover, numerous counselling sessions were arranged to keep individuals in total control. These setups are tough to make in the real world.

Read More: Is Jamun Good For Diabetes?

Carbs Recommendations

The low carb diet and prediabetes are similar to keto for prediabetes patients. As in a ketogenic diet for prediabetes patients, very low carbs are consumed. However, there is no standard minimum carb consumption scale, but the carb target is to be kept low. An extremely low carb diet for prediabetes patients generally will be around 30 grams or less carbs per day. This type is recommended for overweight prediabetes patients. Or for ones with higher blood sugar levels. Or simply for the ones who want to control and swiftly reverse prediabetes. Moreover, when consuming carbs, choose complex carbs as they are gentler on blood glucose impact.

If you have controlled prediabetes blood sugar levels, then you have chosen a low carb diet and prediabetes can still be reversed. However, the time may increase in this diet. Daily carb intake of less than 100 grams is permitted. The lesser the daily carbs intake, the better it is for prediabetes. This method is considered a more sustainable diet option. Along with these diets, calorie counting methods are also adopted to keep track of your food. In the initial phases, we recommend targeting specific meals like breakfast and removing carbs-rich foods from them. A suitable breakfast transition menu can be from cereals and bread to lentil cheela and dal idli/dosa.

Read More: Can Diabetes Patients Eat Oranges?


In this research-based blog on low carb diet for prediabetes management and regulation, we learned about their advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, this kind of diet can be the best low carb diet for prediabetes due to its effectiveness in managing sugar levels and HbA1c without medicine. However, on the other hand, this type of prediabetes low carbohydrate diet still requires further extensive research. A proper trial conducted on prediabetes and diabetes patients is needed to universally establish the results. However, the results from the present study conclude this low carb diet is a beneficial option for prediabetes patients. Moreover, you can choose the best low carb diet for prediabetes management as suits you. Choose a diet sustainable for you and can be maintained over time. This diet will definitely help in controlling and even reversing prediabetes.

Read More: Indian Diet for Diabetes Reversal.


Can Prediabetes Go Away?

Yes, prediabetes is a temporary condition and can go away without medicines. You just need to adopt a few lifestyle changes. You can follow a prediabetes low carb diet and club it with some muscle-building exercises. Sticking with these changes will definitely make prediabetes go away for you.


Does Keto Reduce HbA1c?

A ketogenic diet and prediabetes have a good relationship. This is because the keto diet is a low carb prediabetes diet, and in a few months after consumption, does reduce HbA1c levels. However, keto diets are more suited to obese and overweight prediabetes patients. Everyone cannot randomly start a ketogenic diet.

Is a Low-Carb Diet Good for Prediabetes?

Yes, a low carb diet for prediabetes patients is very good. Research and studies show low carb diets can reduce fasting blood glucose. They also lessen the HbA1c percentage in prediabetics, and that too without medication. Although more research is needed, these results are indeed promising. 

What Foods Should Prediabetics Avoid?

Low carb diet and prediabetes go hand in hand. Therefore, choose foods low in calories and carbs and avoid the opposite of them. Some foods prediabetics should avoid are:

  • Sugary products
  • Dairy products 
  • Animal proteins
  • Refined carbs
  • Unhealthy fats
  • Pulpy and juicy fruits

How Many Carbs Should a Prediabetic Eat Daily?

In general, prediabetes patients should keep carbs intake to a bare minimum. When choosing an ultra low carb prediabetes diet you need to keep carbs intake between 30 to 50 g/day. Or if you are on a milder prediabetes low carb diet you need to keep your daily carb consumption below 100 grams.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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