In my previous post I referred to research which indicated that T2D can be overcome by switching to a diet with a relatively low content of carbohydrate. In this post I will present a few case studies based on the personal experience of individuals.
The first is from Dr John Briffa’s blog(1). It is information from a 56-year old type 2 diabetic who was first diagnosed when he was 42. Despite following the diet he had been recommended, which was essentially low fat and high carbohydrate, his condition had not improved and he steadily gained weight.
Recently he had read a book entitled “Primal Mind” by Nora T Gedgaudas, which encouraged him to reduce most of the foods containing grain and to consume animal fats, which he had been avoiding.
Here is an extract from the email he sent to Dr Briffa:
“I had my 6 monthly diabetes check-up last Wednesday. The diabetes consultant was really happy with all of my figures on cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, weight (I’ve lost another 4 kg since February without really trying), kidney and liver function are excellent – in fact he was really impressed and asked me what I was doing to get these improvements.
Simple, I said, I’ve stopped eating wheat in all its forms and grains in general, I avoid rice and all potato products. I eat animal fat and the only oil that I use is extra virgin olive oil. Breakfast is typically a one-egg omelette and with a small amount of bacon, smoked salmon or Parma ham. I have spinach or other leafy greens and tomatoes. Lunch is often not taken as I do not feel hungry until 6.00 pm when I have my evening meal. Another small portion of meat and plenty of veggies. The only fruit that I have are a few blueberries, wild strawberries (when they are available) and raspberries – and I mean a few.
I sleep better than ever, don’t feel tired and have lost weight. I really ought to exercise though, that is the only flaw in my regime.
“No, you MUST eat some carbohydrates” he said.
“I do, I told you, I eat plenty of vegetables.” I said.
“No, no, starchy carbohydrates, you NEED them”
“Why do I NEED them?”
“For energy, your body needs carbohydrates for energy” came his concerned reply.
“How do you think that I’ve managed to survive since you last saw me then? And, you told me how pleased you were with all of my readings – doesn’t that suggest that I’m doing fine without refined, starchy carbohydrates?”
He had no reply other than to repeat to me that I MUST eat carbohydrates for energy.
I urged him to read Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora T Gedgaudas and made him write it down. I could see that he wasn’t convinced. So, I told him that the bull….. that he’d been taught by the food industry-research funded nonsense that the Government taught him is causing all of the major health problems that he has to deal with every day.
I also said that I throw a fat-fuelled log onto the fire in the morning rather than the carbohydrate kindling throughout the day to keep me provided with energy and avoid the feeling of hunger. Again, nothing seemed to penetrate that simple head of his; it was full of the guff that he’d been taught not to question.”
I have no doubt this story can be repeated time and time again. An excellent source is the website:
www.diabetes.co.uk which also has excellent discussions that provide valuable insight into how some diabetics are coping with the disease.
Here are some examples:
- 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.”
- 2. “I really don’t see how anyone can even query the evidence that a low carb diet works. I was diagnosed in December 2007, my HbA1c reading was 9, my everyday sugar reading was in the late teens. I didn’t know much about diabetes so read every book going. All the so called experts told me to eat carbs with every meal. I was going out one evening and needed to take my own food with me, I decided to take some pasta, the boring brown stuff of course. Before I went out my sugar reading was 11 and after I ate the pasta it was 16. I wrote down everything I ate and my sugar readings 3 times a day, I soon discovered that my sugar would increase if I ate bread, pasta, rice or potatoes. It didn’t take a genius or expert to work this one out, so I stopped eating complex carbs completely. Within 4 months my HbA1c was down to 6.5, now… 20 months later my HbA1c is 5.8 and my everyday sugar is in the 5’s and hardly moves…. of course it goes higher when I have just eaten but it is back down in the 4’s and 5’s 2 hours after eating. The great thing is… now I can actually eat carbs and sugar without my sugar being affected, yes it goes up after eating cake and ice cream but it goes right back to normal. I’ve tested my son and husbands sugar before and after eating carbs and their’s is the same as mine. What I would like to know is… cutting out carbs.. can it cure diabetes? The experts will say no of course.. but this is food for thought!”
The way to overcome all these problems is blindingly obvious! Reduce the carbohydrate intake….especially the simple sugars. This would explain why a reduction in soft drinks is beneficial. It is rather ironic that before the recommendations to reduce fat were made diabetics were advised to reduce their carbohydrate consumption. However, subsequently the advice was changed because it was the accepted wisdom that the fat intake had to be reduced in order to avoid the risks of developing heart disease. Inevitably the attempts to reduce fat intake resulted in increase in the consumption of carbohydrates which is the last thing that a person at risk of diabetes should be doing. It is unbelievable that in line with the current Healthy Eating recommendations patients diagnosed with diabetics are being advised by health professionals to increase consumption of sources of carbohydrates such as past and rice. So it is not in the least surprising that the incidence of diabetes and the other related disease have shown such huge increase in incidence.
There is now overwhelming evidence that the case for reducing fat was fundamentally flawed and has resulted in an increase in the carbohydrate content of the national diet in the UK and in many other countries which have adopted similar strategies. There must be a total re-evaluation of what has been become the conventional approach to Healthy Eating beginning with a recognition that the current approach is not working.
- Hb1Ac is a measure of the amount of haemoglobin which has got glucose attached to it and is therefore an indication of the average content of glucose that has been present in the blood in the recent past. Values in the range 4.0 to 5.9% are considered normal and so higher values demonstrate that the blood glucose levels are excessive.
- The blood glucose(BG) levels recommended by the International Diabetes Federation are shown below:
|IDF recommended target blood glucose level ranges|
2 hours after
4.0 to 5.9 mmol/L
under 7.8 mmol/L*
Type 2 diabetes
4 to 7 mmol/L
under 8.5 mmol/L
Type 1 diabetes
4 to 7 mmol/L
under 9 mmol/L
Children w/ diabetes
4 to 8 mmol/L
under 10 mmol/L