199.Time for a New Policy on Diabetes (Letter to Julian Smith MP for Skipton and Ripon)

This letter was sent to my MP just before Christmas.

Hello Julian,

One of my followers, Ian Day, has just posted this comment on my blog:


“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, with advice from Fergus on the www.diabetes.co.uk/forum 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.”


I can assure you that this is by no means an isolated case. There are literally hundreds if not thousands who have had a very similar experience. Some examples can be found on this website (1). The reaction of many individuals to the conventional advice can be gauged from these links (2, 3, 4).

May I remind you that in May I wrote to you and amongst other things I pointed out that:

“Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) can be controlled and in many people actually cured. This is done by removing the cause which is excessive consumption of sugar and carbohydrates, which result in so much glucose in the blood that the body is unable to cope. Unfortunately the official dietary recommendations are in direct conflict with this strategy which includes:

  • ‘’Starchy foods such as potatoes, bread, cereals, rice, pasta should make up about one third of the food you eat’’.


The basis of successful treatment of T2D is to replace the carbohydrates with fat, especially saturated fat, such as butter. Again this is contrary to the current official advice which is that:

  • ‘’Eating too much fat can make us more likely to put on weight, because foods which are high in energy (calories). Being overweight raises our risk of serious health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure’’


We now know that this is totally wrong and that it is the high intake of carbohydrates which causes weight gain.

So the irony is that those who comply with current guidelines are only making things worse!”

The many case histories which I refer to here demonstrate conclusively that the last statement is regrettably true.

In my letter to you I also made this comment:

“I believe it is essential that ministers exert control. If it is left to civil servants to draft a reply I have no doubt my views will be brushed aside. At this stage I am not advocating a new policy, although I am convinced the case is very powerful. What I would hope to see is a thorough evaluation of these relatively new ideas and concepts. I believe this will only happen if new people are brought in to provide information and advice. I have absolutely no doubt that the majority of those already involved will have a built-in hostility to them for the simple reason that acceptance means admitting they have been wrong in the past. Unfortunately most people find this very difficult to do.

This is a genuine challenge to the politicians.”

You passed my information to the Minister and the reply from Jane Ellison stated:

“Preventing diabetes and promoting the best possible care for people with diabetes is of great concern to the Government. The NHS Five Year Forward View set out a commitment to implement the National Diabetes Prevention Programme to provide lifestyle programmes to pre-diabetic patients in order to reduce the risk of their developing diabetes. The Department is also building on the Diabetes Prevention Programme to improve the outcomes of people with and at risk of diabetes and will put forward our plans in due course.”

In other words she is telling me to “get lost” and there was not the slightest attempt to deal with the points which I made. Had she been doing her job properly (and an effective politician) she would instructed her civil servants to explain why my proposals were faulty. In effect she just ignored my arguments.

Unfortunately this Prevention Programme is based on the same old discredited approach which has failed so miserably in the past. So the reality is that as long as this remains the cornerstone of the strategy there will be no progress and things will continue to get worse.

It is vital to appreciate that for every individual who manages to cope successfully like Ian Day there will be many more who faithfully comply with the official advice only to experience a deterioration in their health and quality of life. The size of this problem is enormous because it means that millions of people are suffering and dying prematurely.

The fundamental issue is that the performance of Ministers is abysmal. They are relying on “experts” whose advice has proved to be spectacularly wrong and are unable to face up to the fact that they have been at fault.

The one encouraging sign is that there are some professionals who have recognised that the approach advocated here is valid and have applied it with great results.

Dr David Unwin and colleagues have successfully treated diabetics with a diet which is low in carbohydrates in their General Practice based in Southport (5). In a study with over 60 people the average weight loss was 9kg, the blood sugars were normalised and the fat in the liver was reduced substantially.

The case history of one patient is particularly impressive.

This was a 55-year old woman who started out with an HbA1c of 84 mmol/mol (9.8%) which is effectively out of control and a GGT of 103 iu/L which showed that the liver function was deranged. Essentially this is a bad case of T2D. She had been prescribed metformin. After 3 months on the low carb diet the GGT was down to 12 iu/L (a reduction of almost 90 %!!) and an ultrasound scan confirmed the liver was functioning normally. She also lost 7.9 kg. In the longer term she has lost a bit more weight, the liver function is fine, her HbA1c is just about OK but she has come off the metformin. She has lost 17 cm from her waist and says she feels “10 years younger”.

(Note HbA1c is a measure of blood sugar and GGT is a marker for Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease).

To cap it all, this practice has reduced its expenditure on drugs by almost £30,000 per annum

The other example is Dr Rangan Chatterjee who made 3 programmes which were shown recently on BBC TV (6). He has successfully helped several families to achieve huge improvements in personal health by making relatively simple changes to their lifestyle with respect to diet and exercise. In particular one lady effectively overcame her T2D by a programme which included a diet low in carbohydrates.

The present position is a disaster which is ought to be unacceptable in this day and age. It is totally outrageous that the Government policy has not only failed but is a critical part of the problem. The performance of Ministers is pathetic. The fact that the Southport study made such a substantial saving in the costs of drugs gives the game away. The driving force behind current policy is the pressure to use drugs. It is quite clear that most of those prescribed for the treatment of diabetics are not effective. By contrast, altering diet by reducing the consumption of carbohydrates does work and eliminates the need for many of the drugs.

It is essential that Ministers take control and demand a complete re-think. They must realise that it is no longer acceptable to hide behind the so-called “experts”. It is not rocket science. We know that diabetes is caused by excess sugar in the body. It does not take a genius to work out that to tackle the cause you must limit the supply which means less sugar and other sources such as potatoes, bread, rice and pasta in the food.

If Ministers fail to respond then Julian it is up to you and your colleagues to ensure that pressure is exerted to bring about the necessary changes in policy. The time for hand-wringing is past. You have a responsibility to your constituents to act.


  1. http://www.lowcarbdiabetic.co.uk/My%20Friends%20Stories.htm
  2. http://healthinsightuk.org/2015/09/29/time-for-diabetes-uk-to-unplug-ears-and-respond-to-chorus-of-disapproval-demanding-u-turn/ …
  3. https://www.facebook.com/AmericanDiabetesAssociation/posts/10153140618374033 … …
  4. http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h4023/rapid-responses
  5. http://www.diabesityinpractice.co.uk/media/content/_master/4311/files/pdf/dip4-3-102-8.pdf
  6. https://vernerwheelock.com/?p=912



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