20% of Diabetes Patients in Drug-Free Remission With Low-Carb Program

LONDON — Remission of type 2 diabetes so that glucose-lowering medication is no longer needed has been achieved in around 20% of patients using a low-carbohydrate diet at a general practice in Northern England, indicate new data presented at the Diabetes Professional Care 2022 conference.

David Unwin, MD, a primary care doctor at Norwood Surgery, Southport, UK, saw his 125th patient with type 2 diabetes remission after they followed the low-carbohydrate program. “Of those patients who choose a low carb diet, 50% of them achieve remission, saving the NHS drug budget £68,000 per year on diabetes alone,” he reported.

His National Health Service (NHS) practice has 530 registered patients with type 2 diabetes. “We have seen drug-free remission happen 125 times in our practice, which is 20% of our entire NHS diabetic register,” he said during his keynote address.

He presented data on what predicts drug-free type 2 diabetes remission, reporting insights from an 8-year evaluation of the low-carbohydrate program in 186 patients. On average, patients who followed the diet had a mean decrease in A1c of 33%, as well as reductions in triglycerides of 30%, systolic blood pressure of 8.6%, total cholesterol of 10%, and cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) of 12%. Weight also dropped by an average of 10.3%.

And in patients who had followed the low-carbohydrate program for a mean of 34 months, 77% achieved remission if diagnosed up to 1 year prior to starting the program,16% achieved remission if diagnosed 1-5 years previously, and 11% achieved remission if diagnosed 6-15 years previously.

Ruth Tapsell, MBBS, a GP from Hartland Surgery, Devon, UK, has offered the low-carbohydrate program to her patients with type 2 diabetes for nearly 5 years.

“We’ve seen the same results as found by Dr Unwin, including multiple remissions from type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, as well as significant weight loss, especially in those who have yo-yo dieted and struggled with weight all their lives,” she said.

When asked whether she would add antidiabetic medication to the management…

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