This study aimed to elucidate the effect of an energy restricted and carbohydrate restricted diet on the management of Japanese diabetes patients. Several databases including MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Japan Medical Abstracts Society were searched for relevant articles published prior to June 2017. The articles identified were systematically reviewed. We identified 286 articles on an energy restricted diet, assessed seven and included two studies in our review. On a carbohydrate restricted diet, 75 articles were extracted, seven articles assessed and three included in the review, of which two were the studies that were selected for the energy restricted diet group, since they compared energy restricted diets with carbohydrate restricted diets. All selected studies were on Japanese patients with type 2 diabetes. No studies for type 1 diabetes were found in our search. Two randomized controlled trials on an energy restricted diet were also included in the three studies for a carbohydrate restricted diet. All the three randomized controlled trials showed better glucose management with the carbohydrate restricted diet. Our study revealed that there is very little evidence on diets, particularly in Japanese patients with diabetes, and that the energy restricted diet, which has been recommended by the Japan Diabetes Society in the sole dietary management approach, is not supported by any scientific evidence. Our findings suggest that the carbohydrate restricted diet, but not the energy restricted diet, might have short term benefits for the management of diabetes in Japanese patients. However, since our analysis was based on a limited number of small randomized controlled trials, large scale and/or long term trials examining the dietary approaches in these patients are needed to confirm our findings.
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