We all know that the NHS is under considerable pressure. The cost of diabetes alone to the NHS is over £1.5 million per hour (Diabetes UK). The conventional medical view on type 2 diabetes (T2D) is that this condition is irreversible and requires long-term medication to control.
We (the so called ‘alternative health care industry’) have known for sometime that T2D typically responds very well to specific dietary and lifestyle interventions. I have seen first hand clients come off/reduce their diabetic medications by making substantial changes to their diets and lifestyle (working in collaboration with their GPs). This scenario reminds me of the classic Mark Twain quote – ‘It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble, it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so!’
I am therefore somewhat perplexed by the fanfare that has surrounded the results of a very recently published randomised controlled trial in The Lancet, that has concluded that after the participants focused on a weight loss programme for 12 months that ‘almost half achieved remission to a non-diabetic state and off antidiabetic drugs. Remission of type 2 diabetes is a practical target for primary care’. This is great news, but not new news. There is considerable existing evidence to suggest that calorie restriction (in particular carbohydrate restriction) is one of the most beneficial approaches to optimally managing diabetes, which after all is an intolerance to carbohydrate. Obviously any such intervention does need to be carefully managed by a suitably qualified health care practitioner in conjunction with the client’s GP/medical consultants. The reality is that standardising this type of approach, has the potential to save the nation around £7 billion with just this one condition!
It is time to stop simply focussing on how much more money the NHS requires and really start thinking about reducing overall load on the system, by using well managed dietary and lifestyle interventions that are supported by unbiased science, as opposed to ‘junk science’ which has a history of being sponsored by questionable institutional agendas. Food is one of the most powerful medicines known to human kind; maybe we should start to use it! We might end up experiencing a pandemic of wellbeing.