In Depth

Laura Scruton: How Real Food Changed my Life

Laura Scruton has a family history of diabetes, and so, from an early age, she decided to put extra effort into following dietary guidelines (in the form of the food pyramid, and later, the Eatwell Guide), to minimise the risk of her developing the disease herself. Despite following the guidelines, Laura always struggled to keep a stable weight. She was diagnosed with gestational diabetes 23 years ago, and again with type 2 diabetes shortly after having her daughter. Now following a low carb lifestyle, Laura often gives presentations to share her experience of the diet that has allowed her to control her diabetes. This presentation was given at the Public Health Collaboration conference 2017 in Manchester.

Laura notes that interestingly, the Eatwell guide seems to be a guide on how to eat primarily packaged foods. Following the guidelines had her eating a large amount of starchy food such as brown rice, brown bread, brown pasta and beans.

As her weight continued to increase and her diabetes became more poorly controlled, Laura began to feel more ill. She remembers getting comments such as “I don’t understand it, you’re the healthiest-eating person I know”. It was evident that following the dietary guidelines was not working for her. On top of this, over a few years, she tried three diabetes drugs: rosiglitazone, metformin and gliclazide, all of which made her feel even worse. Laura comments that she ended up needing to eat extra carbs to negate the hypoglycaemia caused by her medication. As her situation worsened, Laura developed rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue and suffered from constant pain, all whilst gaining weight, eventually becoming clinically obese.

At this point, Laura was introduced to low carb, real food diets by her friend. She was disheartened to find that her doctor was unsupportive and pessimistic about the diet, but Laura decided to give it a chance anyway. Easing into the diet gradually, she quickly lost 2 stone (12.7 kg) without effort or hunger; something she had never experienced before. This weight stayed off, and the metabolic improvements allowed Laura to come off her diabetes medication. After a year on the diet, she was no longer in pain and was also able to stop taking her rheumatoid arthritis medication.

Laura finds one key strength of the low carb lifestyle is that it recommends personalisatio, unlike the national dietary guidelines she followed for years which suggest a one-size-fits-all approach. After tweaking her diet further, and factoring in some intermittent fasting, as inspired by Dr Jason Fung, she noticed even better results. Laura is now weight-stable with her diabetes very much under control. She is also improving her wellbeing through swimming regularly, which she has found much easier since going low carb.

Laura believes that the low carb lifestyle should be made known and available to everyone that can benefit from it. She is actively working towards this goal through her presentations and support groups.

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