The latest news to hit the UK is the new treatment for type 2 diabetics which can reverse the condition completely. The new treatment involves a liquid diet of only 800 calories a day and has been so successful in trials that it will be available now to patients on the NHS.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition where a person’s body becomes resistant to its own insulin and can’t use it properly. This form of diabetes is usually linked to lifestyle and often associated with overweight or obese people. Type 2 diabetes, unlike type 1, can be reversed (or rather, put into remission). People can come off any oral medications or insulin treatment and have normal non-diabetic blood sugars, but in the past this involves serious lifestyle changes including changing your diet and exercising. This brand new treatment for diabetes will now involve eating a drastically reduced diet of only 800 calories in liquid form which is designed to not only help type 2 diabetics lose weight but also to maintain good blood sugar control. But is the new treatment the answer to massive type 2 diabetes epidemic the world is currently having.
I am always excited to read about new treatments for diabetes of any kind, especially if the new treatment could actually be a cure. But the minute I heard the details about this form of treatment I am sceptical as to whether it will really work long-term. Of course any form of treatment which can put type 2 to into remission is brilliant and I know many diabetic patients will sign up for this, but there are aspects of this diet which are bad and could lead to people getting rid of their diabetes, only to then have it come back once they stop the treatment.
Treating the symptom not the cause
Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed in people when their body can’t use their own insulin stores properly. This happens because the body becomes resistant to its own insulin. It becomes resistant because of carbohydrate intake and as every diabetic knows, the one type of food stuff that our bodies cannot tolerate is carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates turn into glucose in the body and this can quickly be stored as fat if a person does not burn off all the carbs they eat. Although most people are aware that eating too much can make you fat, carbohydrates play a key role in this and not only add fat to the body, but if someone doesn’t reduce their diet and start eating less excessively, they will eventually become resistant to insulin. This means that while their body tries to pump out enough insulin to meet the amount of carbohydrates they consume (insulin is needed for the body to process carbs), the body just doesn’t respond to that insulin and acts as if there isn’t enough, leaving glucose in the blood stream and eventually leads to a person becoming diabetic.
Carbohydrates are a key problem in all diabetics, but especially for type 2s. And while losing weight is also a problem, it seems as if scientists and doctors have missed a point when coming up with this new 800 calories a day liquid treatment.
My own liquid diet experience
Of course a key part of a type 2 diabetic getting better control over their blood sugars is losing weight. To fix this people are going to be prescribed soups and shakes to lose weight. This is just like a well-known diet plan I tried over fifteen years ago which involves drinking shakes and eating soups, although my calorie intake wasn’t as low. The diet was a brilliant success, I managed to lose a lot of weight and I was no longer in the ‘obese’ or even ‘overweight’ category! However, as soon as I started eating properly again, the weight started to go back on. Why? Because I hadn’t learnt how to eat a proper healthy diet and this is exactly why I worry that many type 2 diabetics will put weight back on, just like I have, and with this their type 2 diabetes could return.
Aftercare and exercise
The study has advised that people will need aftercare, to see a dietician about how to eat healthily after their liquid diet treatment stops. This makes sense, but starting a healthy diet is hard and even harder if you’ve just come off a diet that was very low in calorie. People on low calorie diets often feel tired and emotional and all you want is to eat something you used to (we often crave something we are denying ourselves). But switching to a new diet plan after doing through a liquid diet can be very hard and many people may not be able to do this long-term.
The new diet also doesn’t take into account exercise, which is well-known to reduce insulin resistance and make your body more sensitive to it’s own insulin stores. Exercise can be so effective and it’s not only good for diabetes, but good for your whole body. It can be a key component in permanent weight lose as well as making you feel good but with this new diet is exercise even possible? With such a low calorie intake of just 800 a day, would make exercising difficult and in some cases it could even be dangerous.
A proper diet plan!
Carbohydrates are the problem with type 2 diabetes. It’s been shown time and again that reducing carbs will help to get rid of diabetes. Type 2 diabetics not only lose weight when they adopt a healthy, low carb diet but they also have far better blood sugar control when eating less carbs. Eating a low carbohydrate diet, doesn’t mean that it’s a restrictive diet though. Type 2 diabetics eating this way, can eat large plates of lots of tasty food, the key is that it is low in carbohydrates rather than low in calorie. Eating a proper diet instead of shakes will mean that you won’t feel hungry or empty. And learning to adopt a permanent diet that’s healthier for you will work long-term because even after the so-called ‘dieting period’ is over, you won’t have to transition to normal eating, you’ll already be doing it.
The new diet that doctors are recommending can work, but I’m sceptical as to how well it will work in the long term. Doctors are recommending low calorie diets to people but don’t mention anywhere that they should reduce their carbohydrate intake. It’s a known fact that carbohydrates cause diabetics problems, it’s the one food stuff our bodies are incapable of processing, so why recommend we keep eating them rather than just eliminate them from our diet and get rid of type 2 diabetes that way – it’s been proven to work, so why won’t doctors recommend it?
What do you think of this new diet plan? Do you have diabetes? How do carbs affect you? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂