A new study will test whether diets that closely resemble those consumed by First Nations people in pre-colonisation times can help drive Type 2 diabetes remission in Indigenous people.
Ketogenic diets call for fewer carbohydrates so that fats become the primary source of energyA study on how a traditional Indigenous diet based on ketogenic principals might reduce Type 2 diabetes will begin this yearThe study is being run by local Aboriginal elders, Flinders University and local health authorities
The research, led by Ngarrindjeri elders in South Australia’s Coorong, along with Flinders University and the Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network (RMCLHN) will use the ketogenic diet to boost health outcomes.
Ketogenic diets restrict carbohydrate intake and promote the consumption of fats to induce the body to use fat as its principal energy source.
The diets have become popular in recent years as a way to lose weight, although the first ketogenic diets were developed in the 1920s.
Boandik, Ngarrindjeri, Narungga and Kaurna woman and RMCLHN director of Aboriginal health Sharon Wingard said the study provided an opportunity for Aboriginal people to learn from their ancestors for better health outcomes.
Ngarrindjeri people were consulted on the best way to mix modern ketogenic eating principles with the diets of their ancestors.(Supplied: Sharon Wingard)
She said the typical diet of Ngarrindjeri people, which included hunted meat and fish and bush tucker such as saltbush, was typically low in carbohydrates and high in fats.
“It’s definitely worked in the past. I mean, look at how many thousands of years that we survived in the country. We didn’t need a research person to tell us it works,” she said.
“With our new lifestyle and eating, and everything we’re doing now, it’s not doing us any favours.
“It’s something that we need to go back and find what we’re missing.”
Ms Wingard said local Aboriginal people were ready to see change.
The Coorong, near the Murray Mouth in South Australia, was an abundant source of fish and other meat for Ngarrindjeri people.(ABC Landline: Prue Adams)
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