For this meeting two group members told the story of how they were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and how they moved forward into remission.
M began to tell his story. He never felt he was obese. His father was T2D and he felt it was inevitable. He was diagnosed 15 years ago and was put on Metformin, told to lose weight and that was it. He went on a nutrition course where he was told to cut back on sugars and fatty foods, salt etc., but there was little change in his weight. Following a warning that his HbA1c was creeping up and that stronger medication was needed, he decided to take action.
The thought of liquid diet foods and the gym was very off-putting, but M spotted some ads on Facebook for an on-line coaching service for £10 per month. This consisted of several phone calls with a dedicated coach and weekly app messages. The recommendation was to follow a low-carb high-fat diet and the Blood Sugar Diet book was brought to his attention. This diet and advice was quite different to previously received NHS advice (thankfully now changed). Low-carb diets have the advantage of making you feel less hungry, but considerable will-power is required to succeed.
M’s diet changed from fruit juice, tropical fruit and whole grain bread for breakfast to berries and eggs. Sandwiches and a banana for lunch gave way to prawn, smoked salmon or chicken Caesar salads followed by an apple or pear. Home-cooked dinners stayed essentially the same, but portions of carbs – potato, rice, pasta etc. was halved.
During the diet phase M kept to around 1,100 calories per day, and less than 100 g of carbs. For exercise the target was simply to walk, around 30 minutes per day. Over 4 months M lost 12 kg and 4 inches off his waist. Blood pressure dropped into the “normal” range, and his HbA1c dropped from 56 to 41. T2 diabetes is considered an HbA1c above 48. M felt much healthier, but had to go out and buy new smaller clothes. Since then M has continued a low-carb diet and kept the weight off and HbA1c down.
By comparison, J was diagnosed recently, just last December. With no family history it was a real surprise. His GP (not Firs House Surgery) gave pretty much the same advice as M received many years earlier – take the pills and live with it. He wasn’t that overweight, about – 85-90 kg giving a BMI 27-28. He went on a very low-carb diet and got his weight down quickly to around 75 kg giving a BMI of 23. His HbA1c dropped from 68 to 40. His GP was surprised but delighted, and reduced his Metformin to one per day. By late June he had a further HbA1c test and his doctor phoned him to say “stop taking the pills, your HbA1c is 36”. J concluded how little, and often contradictory information on dealing with Type 2 diabetes he received. Like M he bought his own blood glucose meter and did weekly fasting blood glucose measurements. Reportedly Firs House Surgery will provide meters to those who are determined to lose weight and move towards remission.
Following the talks there was a lively discussion about taking blood glucose measurements, peripheral neuropathy, bread and other topics.