We watched a very interesting pair of programmes on BBC1 last night discussing the epidemics of Obesity and Diebetes.
Firstly Fat vs Carbs took a brief look at the low-carb high-fat diet. Secondly Panorama's Diabetes the Hidden Killer provided an overview of the impact that diabetes is having on individuals, families, the NHS and the country.
In the first programme Jamie Owen took a balanced but brief look at LCHF. The NHS are still unable to embrace this diet as a realistic choice, despite the evidence that it is working for many people who are taking their health into their own hands. There are a few doctors willing to discuss the diet with their clients, but they appear to be taking a risk to their own careers by doing so.
It's a shame that Jamie only experimented with the diet for 3 weeks. After making such a good start and suprising his doctor with the results (his cholesterol levels came down and he lost 6KG) it would have been interesting to see if the progress he had made continued into the longer term as it has done for so many others.
I was appauled by the doctor who runs a weight loss clinic in the middle of an area with the highest obesity in the country and certainly does not recommend the diet to any clients. He talked about high risk and low adherance and yet his clients all suffer from exactly these issues. This sums up the scale of the problem perfectly. He considers high fat to be a risk but is not affected by the heaps of new scientific data to the contrary. And even if high fat were a risk that risk would pale into insignificance compared to risk and cost of type 2 diabetes afecting his neighbours.
There was also a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, she was priceless; especially after listening to Sam Feltham describe an analysis of all the available randomised control data comparing low-fat vs high-fat diets. Without referring to any evidence of the government's guidlines being based on any science at all she said that her job was to weigh up all the information and advise the best approach. I looked at their website and aparently they did do some reseach costing just £16,000 in 2009 and so she is not entirely wrong here! She would not recommend LCHF, apparently there is not enough long-term data on its safety or efficacy (to which Jamie should have replied "but humans have been eating this way for millions of years"). Well, we have the data for her recommended diet and it is an unmitigated disaster. She has her head in the sand and it is people like her that advise our government.
The Panorama programme was scary. The scale of the problem of type 2 diebetes is vast. Up to 10% of the NHS budget is spent on it and it effects twice the number of people than all cancers do. Living with diabetes is dreadfull, and dying of it is gruesome for all concerned. Graphic pictures of a leg amputation made me shudder, but this is happening every day.
Someone gets diagnosed with diabetes in this country every 2 minutes!
I was saddened to see so many diabetics sat at home or in hospital eating cereals, potatoes and sweet drinks, or following a prescribed diet based on carbohydrates, the very thing that has caused their disease in the first place. If you have a disease that is caused by insulin in-sensitivity and high blood-glucose levels then why on earth would you choose to eat more and more carbs, which turn to glucose in the blink of an eye as soon as you eat them? And the answer is that this is the diet recommended by Dieticians, the NHS and their sponsored charity www.diabetes.org.uk.
We were told that the only 'cure' for type 2 diabetes is bariatric surgery. This may be the case for someone who has had the disease for many years and now had a high risk of death, but there are alternatives for everyone else.
Panorama did not mention the success that some GPs have been having recommending their patients adopt a LCHF diet, a natural dietary intervention as aposed to ripping out 70% of your stomach. People who had watched the fat vs carbs programme would have been left wondering why.