The market town of Skipton is the “Gateway to the Yorkshire Dales”. It is located within commuting distance of Leeds and Bradford. Like everywhere else it has its fair share of people who have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes (T2D). In September we had a wonderful event in The Rendezvous Hotel at which Dr. David Unwin, Dr. Trudi Deakin and Marika Sboros were the keynote speakers (1). The speakers described and explained the benefits of consuming a diet which is low in sugar and carbohydrates but high in healthy fats (LCHF). There is now convincing evidence, reinforced by numerous personal case histories that T2D can be controlled very successfully with this type of diet.

The big problem is that advocating LCHF is in direct conflict with the official advice from the Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS. The tragedy is that the majority of those with T2D are presented with recommendations to REDUCE fat and INCREASE carbohydrates. The inevitable result is that their condition deteriorates and they become dependent on drugs. Most of them suffer from poor health and die prematurely. This is an absolute scandal that is affecting millions of people here in the UK. The position is similar in many other countries including Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Governments are oblivious to requests for a complete re-vamp of the official dietary advice.

Progress has to be at the grassroots

It is time for the people themselves to take control. Here in Skipton, a number of us are trying to establish our own organisation with the specific objectives of helping individuals to understand that LCHF offers huge health benefits. Time and time again we hear the complaints that “I don’t know what to believe”. We are bombarded with books and media coverage with all sorts of claims for a wide variety of different diets. To cap it all, there is growing disillusionment with the health professionals.

Personal experience

Colin Faulkner is one those helping to get the group off the ground, largely because of his own personal experience, which he tells in this narrative:

“I’m 62, retired and have been diagnosed as diabetic since 2002, but was probably suffering for many years before that.

I’ve never been overweight BMI (Bloody Minded Index) in low 20’s and have always been physically active, so diabetes is not just about being overweight…..

For the past 15 years I’ve progressed from diet only treatment to latterly maxing out on tablet medication – my GP classed my blood sugar control as excellent – even though I was always nudging the upper limits, upping the tablets and increasing my exercise regime accordingly.

Until March 2014 when I was diagnosed with bladder cancer, subsequent operations sorted that, but left me completely debilitated, constantly having to take antibiotics to try and ‘cure’ Urinary Tract Infections.

By October 2015 I was desperate, nothing worked, my daily BG reading were way out of range, so I consulted my GP and an Airedale Diabetic consultant.

Their only solution was for me to start on Insulin.

So independent of them I started researching LCHF diets and despite being warned off I started that after Christmas 2015.

Prior to starting (October 2015) my HbA1c was 57mmol/mol, my last result June 2016 was 37 after cutting my diabetic meds from 8/day to 2/day, stopping blood pressure and cholesterol (currently 5.5) tabs.

Also 3 weeks after starting on LCHF the UTI’s stopped.

I’ve attached my current results graph”.

Note: HbA1c is a measure of the blood glucose over the past 3 months.

The evidence continues to accumulate

Colin is by no means unique. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of others who report essentially the same results. Many individual practitioners such as Dr. David Unwin (2) in Southport near Liverpool and Dr. Jason Fung (3) in Toronto are treating their patients by advising them to consume diets that are LCHF. Invariably they achieve success as assessed by blood sugar levels, reduction in the need for drugs and weight loss. There is also reliable research to confirm these results (4). On the other hand I am not aware of a single example of an individual with T2D who has reported success using the conventional approach based on advice to reduce fat and increase carbohydrates.

How do we make progress?

Regrettably the mainstream medical and healthcare professions continue to defend the status quo, despite the fact that it is obviously not working. Governments are unable or unwilling to challenge these very powerful professions. The inevitable consequence is that the number of those who develop T2D continues to increase and those with the disease do not improve and almost certainly get worse if they comply with the official advice.

Grassroots action is needed

I am now convinced that the only way to tackle this issue is from the bottom up. It is vital to spread the word so that individuals are presented with the knowledge that will enable them to control the disease and so improve their own personal health. This is what we are attempting to do here in Skipton and the surrounding area. Most people now accept that the intake of sugar should be kept to a minimum. The problems arise because many have developed a sweet taste. There is also a case that sugar is somewhat addictive. The mainstream advice places great emphasis on reducing fat, on the grounds that T2D increases the risk of heart disease. This is coupled with advice to increase consumption of carbohydrates. Even if these are low Glycaemic Index (GI), they will still contribute to the blood sugar load and so insulin will have to be produced if the pancreas has the capacity to do so. This of course is the crux, because it is the persistent high demand for insulin that is the fundamental cause of T2D. Hence the success achieved by lowering the intake of carbohydrates, which reduces the pressure on the pancreas. With the fat, there is NO requirement to produce insulin.

The main problem is that so many people have complete confidence in their health professionals and cannot conceive that their advice might be incorrect. On top of this some find it difficult to accept that it would be beneficial to increase the consumption of fat, which has been vilified for the past 40 years. It is not easy to readjust concepts and regard saturated fat as healthy while the “vegetable oils” that have promoted as health because they “lower cholesterol” should be avoided.

By contrast, if those who have succeeded with LCHF are prepared to share their knowledge and experience that is a very powerful argument. Finally, the fact that success, as shown by blood glucose measurements and loss of weight, is evident within a matter of weeks or even days provides great encouragement for those who are prepared to try out the LCHF approach.