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Dr. Peter Brukner OAM3 min read

Dr Brukner’s response to Australia’s National Diabetes Strategy 2021-30

On World Diabetes Day, the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, released the National Diabetes Strategy 2021-30 document.

The purpose of the document is to prioritise Australia’s response to diabetes and identify approaches to reduce the impact of diabetes in the community.

Its seven goals include:

  1. Prevent people developing type 2 diabetes
  2. Promote awareness and earlier detection of type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  3. Reduce the burden of diabetes and its complications and improve quality of life
  4. Reduce the impact of pre-existing diabetes and gestational diabetes in pregnancy
  5. Reduce the impact of diabetes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  6. Reduce the impact of diabetes among other priority groups
  7. Strengthen prevention and care through research, evidence and data

What did the National Diabetes Strategy get right?

With type 2 diabetes being the fastest-growing epidemic and more than 120,000 Australians developing diabetes in the past year alone, anyone at risk or living with diabetes is set to benefit from the new strategy.

For the first time, remission of type 2 diabetes is mentioned in the national policy, with a low carbohydrate diet recommended as one of the dietary interventions that can help achieve remission. Once thought to be a progressive disease, we now know that in many cases, type 2 diabetes can be sent into remission through sustainable lifestyle changes.

It’s an important step forward, as it gives hope to those living with type 2 diabetes that their condition is manageable

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What the Defeat Diabetes team reckons needs further work.

  1. While the word healthy is used frequently throughout the document, the term “healthy” is not defined. This is problematic, because what might be healthy for the general population is often not the best diet for those needing to manage blood sugar.
  2. The strategy encourages the Health Star Rating System. While the iniative is positive, the star rating evaluation process is flawed and confuses consumers instead of helping them make healthy food choices.
  3. Low carb is mentioned as being one of the dietary interventions that can help to achieve remission. However, there’s still resistance from peak bodies to promote dietary interventions over drastic interventions such as bariatric surgery. Now that there is global agreement of the term ‘remission’, we encourage a global definition of ‘carbohydrate restriction’ to help to measure the efficacy of type 2 diabetes treatments and programs against this standard - like the Defeat Diabetes program!
  4. Regular reviews of the Australian Dietary Guidelines to reduce modifiable risk factors in the general population have been promised. This is welcome news as the current Dietary Guidelines are designed for healthy Australians, not those with chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. However, the process for a dietary guideline review is quite lengthy, involving multiple stakeholders and industry bodies. This may limit the speed at which Australian’s can implement life-changing evidence-based dietary advice.

How is Defeat Diabetes leading the way?

As part of the National Diabetes Strategy the government has promised to assess Australia’s digital diabetes health readiness, including exploring the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of new, more technology-enabled models of diabetes-related support and care.

Defeat Diabetes is Australia’s first evidence-based, doctor-led program helping to transform the lives of those with type 2 diabetes. Following the latest low carb science, Defeat Diabetes delivers education and support via a mobile app at a cost-effective price (less than $2 a day)! As a private program, we have a unique advantage to act on emerging diabetes-related science faster than the peak bodies and government. This is supported by efficacy results seen in our members - 63% have put their type 2 diabetes into remission.

A study of participants following a similar low carbohydrate program in the UK demonstrated that participants can improve blood glucose levels, enable weight loss and put type 2 diabetes into remission with a program delivered via a digital app.

The UK’S National Health Service (NHS) has supported the digitally-led low carb program since 2018, so we wonder what’s keeping the Australian government supporting or developing programs that can radically transform the lives of Australians at risk or living with type 2 diabetes.

Join the leading evidence-based, doctor-led program transforming the health of Australians. Start your free trial today.

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