Low-carb diets and the power of our community

“Low carb is the way to normal!” declared Diabetes.co.uk forum member sunnyspots. By adopting a low-carb diet (that is, less than 50g a day) she’d lost three stone and regained normal blood glucose levels, after years of ignoring her diabetes.

She’s not alone. Adelle0607 reported that her low-carb diet got rid of her fatty liver and lowered her HbA1c levels to the non-diabetic range. VinnyJames lowered his HbA1c levels to 5.5 per cent and had to replace his jeans as a result of his weight loss, announcing “low carbing works for me!”

The forum is full of stories of low carbohydrate success. Yet, despite its obvious popularity (the low-carb success stories have over 81,000 views), the diet has been met with resistance by medical professionals. Low-carb just hasn’t been a part of the debate.

But things are changing. Dr. David Unwin, a GP working in Southport, was “impressed and moved” when he discovered the DCUK success stories. Inspired by the highly-informed discussions he read and  personal journeys he saw documented on the Diabetes.co.uk forum, Dr. Unwin ran a small pilot study with 19 type 2 diabetes patients, calling the results “hugely promising”.

A low carbohydrate diet improved blood glucose control (by the end of the study, seventeen of the nineteen patients had healthy HbA1c levels), decreased waist circumference, and improved blood pressure.

Dr. Unwin knew that by publishing the results of his study in a reputable, peer-reviewed journal, the low-carb diet would be given the serious attention it clearly warranted. People with diabetes would have something official and scientific to show to their doctor as they argued the case for low-carb. He documented the findings in an article called “Low carbohydrate diet to achieve weight loss and improve HbA1c in type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes: experience from one general practice”, and it was published in Practical Diabetes.

Since then, Dr. Unwin’s practice has been awarded with a grant, enabling the treatment of 37 people with type 2 diabetes. These results have been similar to those of the original research: despite the increased fat content of the diet, cholesterol levels improved.

It goes to show what our community can achieve, and it all stems from the relationships that have been built and the connections made between our personal journeys. For years, the forum has shown people that they’re not alone and empowered them to make better diabetes choices; now, it’s shaping the very healthcare policies that affect us every day.

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About the author

Kurt Wood

Kurt is 22 years old, but he looks about five. He was born in Coventry and enjoys novels in which nothing much happens and comfortable pyjamas (because he's young and exciting). In 2014, he was once again overlooked for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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