Followers of my blogs will know that I’ve long believed, based on the evidence and thousands oftestimonials, that the way to loseweight and reverse diabetes is to eat less carbs, and the right (low GI) ones, together with protein and not to avoid fat.
David Unwin, a GP from Southport, disheartened from watchinghis diabetic patients deteriorate, needing more and more drugs, decided tooffer a different option – a low carb, low sugar diet. He’s been educating themto eat nothing with sugar and to limit the quantity of those foods with ahigher sugar (glycaemic index) content. This combo of less quantity and better quality of carbs is technically a low glyceamic load (GL) diet (GL is calculated by multiplying the quantity (how much you eat) by the GI of a food). The actual advice as to what to eat is little different from my Low GL Diet.
As well as giving his patient information he has a support group set up with nutritional counselling to help keep them ontrack. I think this is a very important elelment, which is why we set up our Zest4Life groups throughout the UK, offering weekly support for peopletransitioning to a low GL way of eating. Around two hundred of his patients, most with type-2 diabetes, have taken up this approach with great success, both in terms of weight loss,blood sugar control and reversing diabetes. His top measure of this is HbA1c (glycosylated (sugarcoated) red blood cells). “In my practice I find the average improvement in HbA1c to be a 30% reduction. This results in 25% of patients having their type-2diabetes put into full remission, achieving a normal HbA1c We also see an average 9kg weight loss over an average of 15 months on the diet, and a lot of very proud patients who have learnt how to take charge of their health. On topof this we see significant improvements in BP cholesterol, cholesterol ratio,and triglyceride levels.” Says David.
Dr David Unwin is one of a small number of GPs who areoffering a low GL/no sugar diet as an alternative to medication, anddiscovering that medical practice becomes so much more rewarding when patientsget better. But it does take a real commitment by GPs, both in time and in bucking the drug-focussed system. Let’s hope this snowballs.
How does this compare to my low GL diet? At the request of a GP practice in Marlow Buckinghamshire, we ran a Zest4Life group over 12 weeks,teaching 23 people with diabetes or metabolic syndrome, with a high HbA1C, howto follow my low GL diet. We achieved an average 7kg weight loss and a 14.5%drop in HbA1c in just 12 weeks. In other words, almost the same weight loss andhalf the HBA1c decrease in a fraction of the time. (Since HbA1c measures totalnumber of sugar-damaged red blood cells, which have a turnaround time of aboutthree months, you’d have to wait a further 12 weeks to retest to get the fullimpact of a 12 week diet.) So, these are the same order of improvement but in afraction of the time. Being part of a Zest4Life group creates a higher level of compliance through weekly support than a GP is likely to be able tooffer, however if GPs referred patients into Zest4Life groups, run in over 80 locations in the UK and Ireland, these kind of reversals of diabetes couldeasily become a reality. This might be a more practical solution, or at leastan alternative, to converting GPs to be the teachers of eating right to control your blood sugar. Alternatively, find yourself a GP such as Dr David Unwin.