In diabetes care, Dr David Unwin has emerged as a beacon of hope through his groundbreaking research on type 2 diabetes remission. However, we couldn’t help but fist-pump the air when we read his recent findings for those who didn’t achieve remission…
What Dr Unwin’s study involved
Dr Unwin’s eight-year study followed patients with type 2 diabetes who agreed to participate in a low carb diet and group and individual support sessions that focussed on lifestyle changes like sleep and exercise.
Remission success stories
Promisingly, more than half of the patients who followed the low carb program successfully achieved type 2 diabetes remission. This jumped to 3 in 4 of those who were diagnosed within a year, representing an “important window of opportunity”, according to Dr Unwin. They achieved remission through tailored dietary plans, GP consultations, online and group support and increased physical activity.
Benefits for those who didn’t achieve remission
However, what he discovered about those who did not achieve remission sets Dr Unwin’s research apart. Non-remission patients showed:
- The greatest improvements in HbA1c, lowering their HbA1c by an average of 24 mmol/L compared to those who achieved remission (on average 17 mmol/L).
- An average weight loss of 8.4 kg (compared to 9.2 kg for those who did achieve remission).
- Reduced medication, an incredibly positive step towards minimising the burden of medication. It shows the potential for better health through diet and lifestyle alone.
- Improved energy levels, better sleep and enhanced overall well-being, were reported by patients, whether they achieved remission or not.
“Remission may seem challenging to those with long-standing type 2 diabetes. Perhaps the most important message from this study is that the clinical benefit does not depend on achieving remission,” said Dr Unwin of the results.
Importance of lowering HbA1c
Lowering HbA1c is a crucial goal in diabetes management. A high HbA1c is linked to an increased risk of complications, including heart disease, chronic kidney disease, stroke, dementia, vision loss and amputation.
“I realised that despite living with this condition for 20 years, I didn’t know much about type 2 diabetes,” said Defeat Diabetes member Alan, who is working towards remission. “In the four months I’ve followed the Defeat Diabetes Low Carb Program, my HbA1c has plummeted from 10.4 to 8.7. My grandfather and father had the disease and eventually died from complications; my uncles also have type 2 diabetes. I did not want to go down the same path.”
Dr Unwin’s findings bring a fresh perspective to type 2 diabetes management. While the spotlight often shines on cases of remission, the study shows that even those who don’t achieve remission experience substantial benefits. Lower HbA1c levels, reduced medication dependency and improvements in quality of life are all life-changing benefits. Dr Unwin has shown that every step towards a healthier lifestyle is a step towards a better future, with or without remission.