Ditching bread, pasta and potatoes can not only help place type 2 diabetes in remission, but can also improve the health of older people, research has shown.

Historically, the over 50s who have had type 2 diabetes for some time can find it harder to control their diabetes. But Dr David Unwin has found the low carb diet can successfully put the condition into remission among the older generation.

Dr Unwin has led a study which has been published in the BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health journal. The findings suggest that avoiding carbs improves HbA1c levels, lipid profiles and blood pressure.

Dr Unwin wanted to see how effective the diet could be among his patient population. He encouraged individuals who had type 2 diabetes or who were at risk of developing the condition to eat a diet rich in vegetables, fish, meat, full-fat dairy, eggs, nuts and berries.

A total of 199 people aged between 24 and 91 took part in the research. Of those people, 128 had type 2 diabetes and 71 had prediabetes.

For 23 months they all followed a low-carb diet and by the end of the research period, nearly half (46%) had put their type 2 diabetes into remission. In addition, 93% of the individuals with prediabetes placed their blood sugar levels into the healthy range.

These positive health outcomes also led to significant financial savings.

Speaking to The Diabetes Times, Dr Unwin said: “If every GP practice in England encouraged the patients who are either at risk of, or have type 2 diabetes to adopt the low carb approach they could save the NHS around £277m. I believe that going low-carb is the gateway to good health and preventing type 2 diabetes, an epidemic which needs to be controlled before it cripples our health system.

“We’ve also started to see research suggesting those with the condition could be at greater risk of becoming seriously unwell with COVID-19. With the burden of type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 expected to grow, now’s the time to start taking action.

“Ditching starchy carbs, such as potatoes, pasta, cereals and bread and sugary treats for a lifetime of good health is a small ask, but surely it’s worth the trade?”

Editor’s note: the multi-award-winning Low Carb Program supports people to implement a lower-carbohydrate diet and was co-designed with Dr David Unwin and 20,000 people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. You can get 50% off an annual membership until November 30, 2020.

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