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Diabetes - The Underlying Problem

Written by Dr Estrelita van Rensburg

Can People with Diabetes Benefit from the Programme?

Many people with diabetes have improved their health with the correct dietary changes. In fact, over a 100 years ago (before prescription medications were available), low-carb diets such as ours, were routinely prescribed with excellent results!

Today, we have excellent scientific and medical data that supports the use of diet, which allows patients not only to reduce, but often to eliminate their diabetes medication (and at the same time help them lose weight as well).

A growing number of doctors from countries as widespread as the UK, USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand are now interested in curing the underlying problem in diabetes rather than just prescribing drugs (see below). They realise that Type-2 Diabetes (T2DM) is not a chronic, progressive disease that can’t be cured, but a “curable” dietary disease.

Understand glucose, understand diabetes.

When we eat carbohydrates (starch and sugar), our blood sugar (glucose) concentrations rise and with that insulin levels also rise. Insulin is a hormone that works like a door opener to get glucose (basic building block of sugar/starch) into our cells where it is used as energy fuel or stored in our liver and muscles.

What is the underlying problem in T2DM?

When we eat a lot of carbohydrates (i.e. our modern western diet of highly processed, sugar and starch-rich foods), it drives high levels of insulin in our bodies. When this continues for several years a metabolic state known as “insulin resistance (IR) develops. This means that despite high levels of insulin, sugar cannot be transported into our cells (the door is closed).

What can we do about IR?

Think about this - if you have a gluten or peanut intolerance, should you ingest gluten or peanuts? Of course not, you should avoid them at all costs! The same logic applies to diabetes. For example - eating a potato (starch) can raise your blood sugar as much as eating 9 teaspoons of sugar! If instead you avoid sugar and starch, it will result in lowering your blood glucose and insulin levels, which again in time will reduce or eliminate your need for medication. It is that simple! By changing your diet, you can effectively reverse many of the negative effects associated with diabetes.

Choosing foods low in carbs is a safe and easy way to help you control your blood sugar.

Research shows that low-carb diets are a safe and effective option for treating and reversing type 2 diabetes – see the scientific data below:

  • In 2019, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) stated that reducing carbohydrate intake was the most effective nutritional strategy for improving blood sugar control in those with diabetes. https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/42/5/731
  • Virta Health published a study in 2019 showing that 349 people with type 2 diabetes followed either a very-low-carb diet or a standard diet. After one year, 97% of those in the low-carb group had reduced or stopped their insulin use, while 58% were no longer diagnosed as having diabetes (disease in remission) and in the standard diet there was no change. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31231311
  • In the UK, Dr David Unwin of Norwood Surgery in Southport, is a strong advocate of lifestyle medicine. In 2016, he won the NHS Innovator of the Year Award. See his 2018 presentation “Low carb is not just about diabetes” at the Royal College of General Practitioners Conference in London. https://www.diabetes.co.uk/in-depth/david-unwin-low-carb-not-just-diabetes/

What happens when diabetics follow a low-carb diet?

They often notice that, starting with their first day on the diet, their blood sugar improves (testing your blood sugar at home is essential on this programme). The need for medications, especially insulin, is usually dramatically reduced. Substantial weight loss often follows and generally people feel better, have more energy and alertness, and many of their health markers will improve.

Important Notice

Choosing foods low in carbs is a safe and easy way to help you control your blood sugar. On this diet your blood sugar levels may improve quickly. However, if you are taking medications for your diabetes, you must work with your healthcare provider to adjust your medications when you change your diet. The content we provide is not intended to be relied upon for medical diagnosis or treatment. Always inform your physician of any changes you may make to your lifestyle and discuss these with him or her.

If your health care provider is not enthusiastic helping you pursuing a natural solution to reverse or improve your diabetes, try to find one that is able and willing to help.