Defeat Diabetes

4 mins read

  • A new study reveals that remission of type 2 diabetes is possible for almost everyone  – even if you’ve had type 2 for more than 15 years
  • People following this approach who were not able to achieve remission made significant improvements in blood sugar levels – even more than those who achieved remission
  • All patients in the study improved their heart disease risk factors, despite concerns about replacing carbs with more cheese, cream, eggs and red meat 

A few years ago, Dr David Unwin, a GP in England, was frustrated that he had little impact on the chronic diseases affecting many of his patients.

Everything changed when one patient told him she had reversed her type 2 diabetes by adopting a low carbohydrate diet.

Initially sceptical but with a sense of curiosity, he tried the approach with some of his patients with type 2 diabetes and was astonished by the results.

With a renewed enthusiasm for his career, Dr Unwin has been advising this approach for his patients with type 2 diabetes since 2013, giving people with type 2 diabetes (and doctors) hope again.

To prove the point, Dr Unwin’s clinic (Norwood Surgery) has achieved 127 cases of remission to date!

Hope for everyone with type 2 diabetes 

While we’ve known for some time that type 2 diabetes can be put into remission, many studies have hypothesised that remission is more likely in those with recently diagnosed type 2 diabetes. 

However, Dr Unwin’s latest real-world study reveals hope for those with long-term type 2 diabetes – two people in his study sent their type 2 diabetes into remission despite having had the condition for more than 15 years.

This study shows there is great hope for nearly everyone with type 2 diabetes, whether they have been more recently diagnosed or have long-term diabetes, says Dr Unwin.

More than one hundred cases of type 2 diabetes remission

In his latest publication, Dr Unwin’s findings span eight years (2013 to 2021) and detail the outcomes of 186 patients with type 2 diabetes who reduced carbohydrates.

Within an average of 33 months, those who reduced carbohydrates to less than 130 grams a day), experienced the following:

  • 51% achieved remission
  • 97% who cut carbs improved their blood sugar (average HbA1c fell from 7.9% (63 mmol/mol) to 6.4% (46 mmol/mol))
  • The average weight loss was 11kg 
  • There were significant improvements in both renal function and all risk factors for heart disease measured 
    • Total cholesterol down by 0.6mmol/l
    • Triglycerides down by 0.7mmol/l
    • Systolic BP down 8mm Hg

Is type 2 diabetes remission possible for everyone?

Type 2 diabetes remission is defined as having blood sugar levels in a healthy range (under HbA1c under 6.5%) for more than three months without the help of glucose-lowering medications.

One of the most important findings of this study was that it revealed that 51% of people with type 2 diabetes of any duration could achieve remission simply by cutting carbs. The average duration since diagnosis with Dr Unwin’s patients was 5.4 years. 

The chances of remission rose to 77% within a year of diagnosis and 50% if diagnosed in the past three years. Most importantly, the results revealed that even those with type 2 diabetes for more than 15 years have a 20% chance of remission. 

As you would expect, using a dietary approach to achieve type 2 diabetes remission is much cheaper than medication. In 12 months Norwood Surgery spent GBP £68,353 (AUD $120k) less than practices in the surrounding area. 

These savings are likely to be dwarfed by cost savings from reduced complications of type 2 diabetes and days lost from work for people with uncontrolled diabetes.

Dr Peter Brukner, who founded the Defeat Diabetes Program in 2021, offers a similar step-by-step program to help people with type 2 diabetes achieve remission. He said, “the results are pretty impressive and offer hope for everyone living with type 2 diabetes.”

The biggest surprise was that those who had longer-term type 2 diabetes, who did not achieve remission, still experienced health improvements, including lower blood sugar levels – in some cases, more than those who achieved remission. 

Dr Unwin says that “people with longer-standing, poorly controlled diabetes can dramatically improve their diabetes control without more drugs.”

In addition, the study revealed that 93% of people with pre-diabetes can achieve normal blood sugars, significantly reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Conclusion

The findings of Dr Unwin’s study offer hope for everyone living with type 2 diabetes.

We know that reducing carbohydrates typically leads to weight loss and can be an effective approach for those with type 2 diabetes to achieve remission..

The chances of remission are higher in those with more recent diagnoses, although not impossible for those who’ve been living with the condition longer. 

So the moral of the story is if you have type 2 diabetes, there’s a real possibility of remission, and the sooner you start to make changes to your lifestyle, the better! 

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