Diabetes just about epitomises everything that is wrong with our public health systems. Essentially it is a modern day scourge. People with diabetes have an increased risk of developing many other diseases, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and many cancers. The number of people affected is huge. It does incredible damage to health. Here in the UK, the number of cases has doubled in the past 15 years and the incidence is expected to continue increasing.
About 90% of the cases are Type 2 Diabetes. Research has now established that this is caused by the persistent consumption of diets, which have a high content of sugar and carbohydrates that are present in foods such as bread, potatoes, rice and pasta. These are broken down to glucose and absorbed into the bloodstream. To prevent excessive levels building up, insulin has to be produced by the pancreas. Because the demands on the pancreas are so high, it eventually packs up and cannot function effectively. At this point the blood sugar can no longer be controlled properly and creates havoc in the body. For example, because it sticks to the haemoglobin, the blood circulation is seriously impaired. This can result in blindness and damage at the extremities, which is why so many diabetics have to have limbs amputated.
The solution is obvious. Reduce the amount of sugar and other foods, which are rich in carbohydrates. It really is that simple.
The official advice
Way back in the 1980s, it was decreed that in an effort to combat heart disease, the amount of fat in the diet should be reduced. As this had to be replaced by another nutrient it was recommended that there should be an increase in foods which contained carbohydrates. The food industry responded by developing a whole new range of “low fat” products. Unfortunately, very often the fat, which had been removed was replaced by sugar. Food survey data confirm that there has been a significant increase in the amounts of sugar and carbohydrates consumed, which explains why Type 2 Diabetes has shown such a dramatic increase.
Despite this, the standard advice for diabetics remains the same. According to the NHS Choices website:
“The important thing in managing diabetes through your diet is to eat regularly and include starchy carbohydrates, such as pasta, as well as plenty of fruit and vegetables. If your diet is well balanced, you should be able to achieve a good level of health and maintain a healthy weight.” (emphasis added)
Since the starchy carbohydrates produce glucose it is inevitable that for those who comply with this advice, the condition will get worse.
Yes, you read that correctly. The tragedy is that the vast majority of patients have great faith in the health professionals and do what they are told.
On the other hand there are some individuals, who have questioned this advice, conducted research with the help of the internet and exercised their own judgement on how to cope with the disease. Here are a few examples:
Case study No. 1
“I just tried to lose weight and measure my blood sugar levels more frequently which revealed that certain carbohydrates that I was eating elevated my blood sugar level higher and for longer. That group included potatoes, bread and bran flakes which when eliminated allowed me to reduce my insulin from 90 units per day to zero. My BMI has reduced from 29.5 to just below 25 and my A1C reading runs at circa 5.8%. I have now been off insulin for the past 36 months after 14 years of twice daily injections.” (Note: Numbers indicate normality).
Case study No.2
“I was diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes in 2,000 at age 61. I was advised to eat the NHS “healthy diet” with plenty of starchy carbs, low fat, sugar and salt. I was also advised that however well I complied, diabetes was progressive and would lead to problems with eyes, kidneys and possible stroke and heart disease.
It’s inevitable – the nature of the disease.
Sure enough the disease progressed – reduced kidney function, beginning of retina bleeds, chronic tiredness and severe crippling peripheral neuropathy.
In May 2008,…..I gave up all the obvious carbs.
My blood sugars immediately improved and within 3 months I was out of pain and able to play tennis again.
Now, after 7 1/2 years on a low carb, high fat diet I am well, with NO diabetes complications.
I would not DARE revert to the NHS/Diabetes UK “healthy” diet. It’s poison.”
These are just 2 examples of the hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals who have discovered for themselves that the official advice is fundamentally flawed. The tragedy is that for every one who does this there are huge numbers who comply with the faulty advice offered by the mainstream health professionals.
If further proof is needed then this has been provided by Dr David Unwin, who is a GP in Southport (1,2). He has advised many of his patients to adjust their diets by reducing the consumption of sugar and foods with a high starch content such as bread, pasta and rice. These could be replaced by increasing consumption of green vegetables, whole-fruits, such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and the “healthy fats” found in olive oil, butter, eggs, nuts and full-fat plain yoghurt were advocated. There was no need to do any calorie counting. As a consequence, their blood glucose was lowered so that the disease was effectively controlled. On average, those who participated lost 9kg and felt very much better. The real clincher was that the need for drugs was reduced substantially, many were able to stop taking all drugs. The practice is saving £40,000 per annum on the cost of prescribing drugs.
The real scandal is that the mainstream medical and health professionals persist with the same old dogmas that have no solid foundations and are obviously not working. Rather than providing a solution, the official advice is making things worse. Government Ministers are so inept that they are incapable of challenging the rubbish that is continually pontificated by the so-called experts.
The social and economic costs are enormous. Millions of patients are losing their sight and having their limbs chopped off. The majority die prematurely because of their misguided attempts to follow the advice of health professionals.
Diabetes treatment and care cost the NHS about £10 Billion per annum at present and the loss to the economy is about the same. Ultimately we will reach a point where the costs are no longer sustainable.
It really is time the health professions and the Government faced up to these issues. There is overwhelming evidence that we need a radically new approach and that current strategies are worse than useless. The way ahead is quite clear.