No sugar diabetes link

  • 21 Jul 2015
  • Reading time 4 mins
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Sugar consumption isn’t linked to diabetes type 2, heart disease or obesity, says the government’s ‘expert’ SACN advisors. Pull the other leg. Whoops – it’s been cut off.

This is no sick joke. Amputations due to diabetes are at a record high in the UK, averaging 20 a week. Every week 700 people are diagnosed with preventable and reversible life-threatening disease.

Anyone with half a brain knows that too much sugar and refined carbohydrates leads to too much glucose in the blood, which leads to too much insulin, which leads to insulin resistance and a break down in the body’s ability to control blood sugar levels – the definition of diabetes. All drug treatments for diabetes are based on this simple set of circumstances.

So, when in one week the British Medical Association say ‘tax sugary drinks’ but don't say how to spend the money and continue to give patients the wrong advice; and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), finally produce their report saying there’s no link between sugar consumption, diabetes, heart disease and obesity one wonders who is in bed with whom.

Hannah Sutter, a lawyer for 17 years and author of “The Big Fat Lie” did a great job in her blog disclosing the conflicts of interest rife in the SACN committee.

“The first thing that jumped out from the data” she says “ was that the majority of the members of this committee, directly or indirectly, receive income from companies that make money out of carbohydrates. Here is a table of members’ declared interests:

Prof Tim Key Veterinary medicine. Epidemiology Vegan and vegetarian
Prof Julie Lovegrove Nutritionist GSK consultancy; Unilever; Jordan Cereals; Sainsbury’s; Sugar Nutrition UK
Dr David Mela Eating Behaviours Employee and shareholder of Unilever
Prof Angus Walls Dental Expert GSK pay a consultancy fee and research funding
Prof Ian Young Clinical pathologist No interests declared
Prof Ian MacDonald Metabolic physiology Mars; Unilever; Coca Cola –research funding
Prof Ian Johnson Nutritionist Barry Callebaut (world’s largest chocolate manufacturer) – consultant

She aptly renamed the committee as ‘SACK’EM’. When diabetes and obesity are major health issues why can’t we get an independent body of experts, not paid for by the food or drug industry, to give us the facts?

Losing weight, and treating and reversing diabetes with diet, not drugs, is not difficult. My book ‘Say No to Diabetes’ makes it clear how to do the latter, and following a low GL diet achieves the former. In fact, even SACN agree that a high GL diet ‘is associated with a greater risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus’ and that ‘Glycaemic Load is associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease.’

The key measure of success is a simple test called glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c). Put simply it’s the percentage of red blood cells that become sugar coated/damaged. If it’s above 7% you either have or soon will have diabetes.

So, why don't we just change the system and get GPs to start putting people on low GL diets and stop focusing so much on highly profitable drugs? One group of GPs did just this, inviting us to run a Zest4Life group of 21 patients.

Patients were encouraged to follow the low GL eating plan and were supported in making lifestyle changes, including exercise and developing new habits. The clinical markers for chronic disease were measured at the beginning of the programme and again at the end of 12 weeks and weight and body composition were tracked during the 12 weeks. The results speak for themselves.

Health Markers Before After 12 Weeks % Improvement Greatest individual change
Average Weight 202lbs 187lbs 0.0742 - 31lbs
  14st 6lbs 13st 5lbs   11.6%
Average HbA1C 6.9 5.9 14.5% 10.5 - 7.1
Average Fasting Glucose 6.3 5.6 11.1% 9 – 6.2
Average Total Cholesterol       5.27 4.59 12.9% 7.9 – 6.1
Cholesterol/HDL ratio 4.12 3.69 8.7% 3.3 – 2
Triglycerides 1.65 1.2 27% 5.4-1.2
Blood Pressure 137/81 131/73 4%/10% 128/88-100/66
Triglyceride/HDL ratio 1.47 1.07 0.27 5.4 – 1.14

Everyone taking part lost weight, 9 of the 21 participants lost over a stone. For the majority of participants, there was a clinically significant reduction in most of the markers.

Any truly effective approach to reversing the diabesity epidemic has to make sugary foods more expensive (tax) and less attractive (warnings) plus educate the public and doctors about how to lose weight and regain blood sugar control with a low GL diet.

Until the medical profession get out of bed with Big Pharma and into bed with nutritional therapists, employing the 3,000 nutritional therapists to run groups such as Zest4Life and workshops to educate and support those with diabesity to make the necessary changes, we can expect more diabetics, increasing amputations and escalating health care costs. The only winners will be Big Pharma and the food industry who just got let off very lightly indeed.