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Old Tue, Jan-10-23, 04:44
Demi's Avatar
Demi Demi is offline
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Default Can you cure type 2 diabetes with diet?

Can you cure type 2 diabetes with diet?

Dr Mark Porter

After a couple of weeks of eschewing my usual low(ish)-carbohydrate regimen, I’ve had to loosen my belt a notch. It’s been fun, but it’s time to get back to healthy eating; a change encouraged by new data from a group of GPs who have been using a low-carb diet to treat type 2 diabetes, with remarkable results. And it’s not only the 4.5 million or so in the UK with the condition who should take note — it could have benefits for millions more too, including anyone worried about their spare tyre.

Of the five million people in the UK confirmed to have diabetes, 90 per cent have type 2, which is typically but not always associated with advancing years (most are over 40), a poor diet (too many carbs) and an expanding waistline. However, this is the tip of a worryingly large iceberg — Diabetes UK estimates that there are at least another million people who are unaware they have type 2, putting them at risk of serious complications including stroke, heart attack, kidney disease and loss of vision; there are another seven million or so who have pre-diabetes (see below), meaning that their sugar levels are borderline and they are heading for trouble.

Fortunately the low-carb regimen highlighted in the new study (published by BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health) can help patients who have been diagnosed and those unaware they are at risk. At least a third of people with type 2 diabetes in the study went into remission by following the diet, with no medication needed. (I say remission because if they were to revert to past eating habits, their diabetes would return.) And the results for the pre-diabetes group were even more impressive: 93 per cent on the diet went back to normal blood sugar levels rather than continuing their inexorable (in most cases) journey towards full-blown diabetes. So how did they achieve it, and who might benefit?

Rather than start with weight loss, Dr David Unwin and his team looked at diet. Most of us consume far too many carbohydrates, which — in whatever form — are basically lots of sugar molecules holding hands. Rice, fruits and their juices, breakfast cereals, confectionery and anything made with flour — such as bread, cakes and pasta — are rich in carbs, and when you eat them they are broken down to their constituent sugars. For example, a portion of white rice will raise your blood sugar about as quickly as eating granulated sugar. Sure, brown rice and wholemeal brown bread take longer to break down, but the result is much the same.

There is no need to measure your carb intake. While some define a lower carb diet as 130g a day or less (with a slice of bread containing about 15g and a homemade flapjack more like 50g), most pragmatic clinicians just advocate avoiding what you can — many people eat 300g or more a day, and any reduction is helpful. Once you reduce the carbs, even if you replace them with more protein and fat, the weight typically drops off — a dual effect that eases the load on your blood sugar control mechanisms, allowing levels to return to normal.

It may sound counterintuitive to generations brought up on the idea that a healthy breakfast is a bowl of granola washed down with a smoothie or freshly squeezed orange juice, and that a boiled egg and a glass of milk is bad for you. However, doctors and nutritionists are fast coming round to the idea that we have it wrong.

Orange juice contains about as much sugar as Coke. The sugars in juices and smoothies may be “natural”, but that doesn’t make them any better (in most cases). And, no, eggs don’t cause a worrying rise in cholesterol levels. Indeed, many people who follow a sensible low-carb regimen find that as well as losing weight, their cholesterol levels and blood pressure improve too (mine did).

I won’t pretend it is easy. I have a sweet tooth and a soft spot for artisan breads. And while a two-to-three month low-carb regimen is an excellent way to shift excess weight, if you want to keep your blood sugars under control you will need to follow it long term. And, as I discovered over Christmas, it is very easy to slip back into old habits.

So who is likely to benefit most? Well, anyone who is carrying excess weight around their midriff (use waist-to-height ratio rather than BMI to assess if in doubt; your waist measurement should be less than half that for your height) — as well as anyone with or at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and those looking to improve their diet as part of a new year’s resolution. So most of us, really . . .

Link to study:

What predicts drug-free type 2 diabetes remission? Insights from an 8-year general practice service evaluation of a lower carbohydrate diet with weight loss
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  #2   ^
Old Fri, Jan-13-23, 10:45
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WereBear WereBear is online now
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I saw this in Science News and nowhere else. Not enough information out there, and with food prices affected, people are making choices based on the wrong idea.
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