‘Reversing’ diabetes, oxtail soup, and hair loss

I’ve spoken about Geoff Whitington before.


Because he’s the guy that ‘reversed’ his Type 2 diabetes through ‘cutting out bread and pasta’


AND


Perhaps more importantly…


Cutting his food intake for 8-weeks to just 800 calories a day.


Now – yes -This is extreme.


BUT…


When faced with the possibility of a leg amputation if he carried on in his old ways


My question to you is: Would you do the same?


I mean, it’s not like you have to be on this diet forever, either. 


Like most diets – be it for weight loss or putting diabetes into remission – the diet should change as YOU change depending on how you respond with your weight loss, strength increases, how your skin and hair feel, energy levels, hormonal profile etc.


Anyway..


Geoff went from having Type 2 diabetes, being overweight and at risk of an amputation…


To losing a tonne of weight, better controlling his blood sugar levels / putting his diabetes into ‘remission’, and completing a 100-mile charity bike ride.


And it brings me back to the BBC Panorama programme this week on diabetes.


Did you see it (if not, link is at the bottom)?


They went for ‘shock’ tactics, that’s for sure. 

^^^ The amputations would definitely put you off your dinner (and maybe help you eat 800 calories a day for 8-weeks if you needed to)


But here’s the bit I found quite interesting (CAUTION: I’m about to go sciency on you):


We always describe the development of Type 2 diabetes as being the result of eating too much and doing too little exercise

^^^ and this is definitely a key contributor. 


As a result, too much fat builds up in your liver and pancreas 


This prevents your body from secreting and utilising the hormone – insulin – which lowers your blood sugar…naturally!


It’s a storage hormone (hence, too much of it can increase your fat storage potential but that’s one for another day)


So, not enough insulin means your blood sugar increases and the consequences are nerve damage (hence the amputations), sight problems, increased risk of heart disease, kidney failure, sexual dysfunction and even an increased risk of stillbirth / miscarriage.


BUT…


A key point is that we all have different levels of fat that we can handle within our liver and pancreas. 


So, only when a person has more fat than they can handle within the liver and pancreas will Type 2 diabetes develop.


^^^ Read the above sciency bit again if you need to because it’s important. 


And here’s why:


We’re often told that Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition that gets worse with time.


But – for me and based on recent research from Newcastle University – this is a bit like saying that if you order a Big Mac and fries everyday, you’re going to get a Big Mac and fries everyday.


Or


If you order an Americano from Starbucks everyday, you’re going to get an Americano everyday. 


Because you’re doing the same thing, everyday. 


So, why would the outcome be any different? 


What I mean by this is that – of course – Type 2 diabetes will get worse if you keep doing the same things that contributed to Type 2 diabetes in the first place (assuming a key contributor was lifestyle related)


That is – eating too much and exercising too little, contributing to the build of too much fat around your liver and pancreas.


Because you’re doing the same thing!


But what happens if you make changes? 


Have bariatric surgery?


Well, this – and weight / fat loss – gets rid of the fat within your liver and pancreas 


Which seems to put Type 2 diabetes into ‘remission’


AKA


Your blood sugar levels are now considered ‘non-diabetic’ and ‘normal’


But here’s where it gets more interesting.


You see, we’ve been saying that diabetes is a progressive disease that gets worse over time


Despite knowing that bariatric surgery can put it into remission (they even showed this in the 70’s and 80’s)


But before you say ‘yay’ to bariatric surgery…


I’ll enlighten you on some groundbreaking research from a wise man (Professor Taylor)

^^^ Which now seems really obvious, by the way.


Taylor considered that before you have bariatric surgery, you HAVE to do a low calorie (800 calories per day) diet.


Now, this got me thinking, too, about how your mindset comes into this:


If you can do this diet for a week, what can’t you do?

^^^ Because the first week. The transition. Will be the hardest part.


So, Taylor put participants with Type 2 diabetes on this 800 calorie diet WITHOUT bariatric surgery.


And guess what happened within one-week?


* Blood sugar levels were now normal


* The body’s ability to respond to insulin and take in the sugar from the blood to lower blood sugar levels increased from 43% to 74%.



Now, this was a small study (only 11 people completed)


BUT…


Given the drawbacks of bariatric surgery:


* The risk of having surgery


* Having a ‘healthy’ part of an organ removed (perhaps unnecessarily)


* Poor skin, nails, hair loss (not good considering my genetics…) and energy levels due to your increased risk of malnutrition


* The cost to the struggling NHS that we know and love (will there be time where it goes private? Maybe we only get ‘free’ care for certain conditions?)


* Not being able to overindulge and enjoy food at social events, like Christmas (The ‘C’ word, again. But, food should be enjoyed. It brings us together, right? Which is why a big part of my nutritional philosophy is helping you to develop a positive relationship with food where YOU are in control)


* Being stuffed after 6 spoonful’s of oxtail soup (This might be a good thing if you don’t enjoy eating. But, I only know a few people who don’t enjoy eating…)


Could this be the solution?


That is…


Diet and exercise. 


Is it that you’re addicted to sugar (it does actually light up areas of the brain like cocaine, believe it or not)?


OR


Is it a mindset thing?


Is it right that an 800 calorie diet for 8-weeks is deemed by some as ‘dangerous’ but surgery to remove a ‘healthy’ part of your organ that is working absolutely fine in your body is OK?


And only time will tell with all this. 


Diabetes UK are currently funding longer term studies on how diet can potentially get rid of the fat around your pancreas and liver to get them working properly and prevent / put diabetes into remission!


And it’s something I am closely following. 

^^^ Particularly as my research at Oxford Brookes University considered how certain diets meant that you ended up eating a load more after it and moving less.


And here’s a few more things to consider:


* Do you have to go as low as 800 calories to get the same effect?


* Would eating higher protein and doing resistance exercise improve weight loss and your ability to handle sugar?


* Could a lower carbohydrate / sugar diet that is higher in calories have similar effects?


Only time will tell…


Speak soon,


Matt


PS. Here’s the link to the BBC Panorama programme on diabetes: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07yklv8
 
PPS.  I just want to leave you with the power of what good lifestyle habits can do for you by sharing a few stories from people who I have been lucky enough to work with:
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