"I can finally eat the foods I avoided for decades." ~ Colin's story
Weight loss: 7 kg
HbA1c: 7.8 down to 5.9
In Remission: In remission
Colin Brigstock was a career actuary, working as a partner in a big consulting firm and travelling throughout ANZ and Asia with work. After a routine check-up, he was about to fly to Japan for an important meeting when his GP called and asked for an urgent appointment to discuss his results. Colin cancelled his trip. His GP advised that Colin’s Hba1c was over 12, and he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Twenty years later, he discovered the Defeat Diabetes Low Carb Program. As a result, Colin is now in remission and in control of his health.
“Although dad was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in his 70s - and he’s now 92 - there is no other history of it in my family, so the diagnosis came out of the blue. I was reasonably active, and while I wouldn’t say my diet was particularly healthy, I ate what we were all told to eat: cereal for brekkie and a sandwich for lunch.
“After my diagnosis, the doctor put me on diabetes medication, blood pressure tablets, and a statin immediately because that was recommended for people with type 2 diabetes back then. I never questioned it, and my GP said, “You’ve got type 2 diabetes now; there’s nothing you can do. We’ll just monitor it and adjust the drugs to keep it under control.” I left with the message that there was no alternative. I was no longer in control of my health.
“The only dietary advice I ever received was to eat low-GI foods. So I did my reading on it and avoided some high-GI foods, but of course, it was still quite a carb-laden diet.
“So, I continued with my meds and avoided high-GI foods for about 20 years, with my HbA1c hovering around 6.5 - 7. Then, in October 2022, my blood sugar results returned at 8.8. My GP said he wanted to put me on a fourth drug to improve my HbA1c but the drug wouldn't be available until early next year. When I saw a new GP in April this year, my blood sugars were still high at 7.8. She was adamant I needed to go on this fourth drug. The side effects sounded awful; I would feel sick and have chronic diarrhoea for some weeks until my body got used to the drug.
I told my wife, Jaki, “I’m not looking forward to this - it’s going to interfere with my golf. I need to find an alternative.”
“Around this time, there was publicity about the low GI diet, so I went to the bookshop to learn more. Next to the GI book was ‘The Diabetes Plan’ by Defeat Diabetes founder Dr Peter Brukner. I bought both books and started with The Diabetes Plan. I haven’t opened the other one yet!
“The Diabetes Plan offered me hope. I liked that it suggested I could reduce or come off my medications and avoid this new drug by slightly modifying my diet, and it all looked like pretty interesting food anyway! I signed up for the online program, printed out the letter for the doctor and went to visit my GP. She was sceptical, but I gave her back the prescription for the fourth drug anyway. She eliminated two diabetes drugs and halved the dosage of the third med I was already taking, and I started the Defeat Diabetes Low Carb Program.
“Following the Defeat Diabetes Program, I never felt like I was on a diet; I was just being selective.
"I was eating big meals and felt full - never have I felt hungry. Best of all, I was suddenly enjoying the foods I’d avoided for 20 years.
"I was on metformin for a long period, and if I ate bacon and eggs, I would get an upset stomach. Now on my reduced meds and following the program guidelines I have bacon, eggs, avo and mushies for breakfast every day with no problem! I can finally eat the foods I love again.
“Some people are put off a low carb approach because they worry about the food they might have to sacrifice. They think it might be too complicated to change what they eat, or they think of low carb as a diet. But yesterday, I ate the Defeat Diabetes Chicken Tikka Masala with a few extras, which was delicious. The Silky Salmon Curry is also exceptional, and the salmon fishcakes. I don’t follow a lot of the recipes, but I know if I keep things simple - protein and green veggies - I’m on the right track.
“A big game changer was investing in a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), which has allowed me to track meals against my blood sugars and immediately see when something causes a spike. It’s interesting that even some low carb foods trigger me, so it’s been helpful to understand my personal carb threshold. In saying that, the waiter at the golf club accidentally served chips with my steak the other day. I didn’t want the CGM to say I’d been a naughty boy, so I stopped at three chips; but now I know I can have three without my blood sugar spiking!
“After three months of eating this way, I lost 11 cm from my waist and dropped 5 kg. My HbA1c was at 5.9 - I couldn’t tell you the last time it was ever this low.
"My GP remained sceptical and wanted me back on more diabetes drugs, so I now have a new doctor who has suggested I try removing all meds - which I have done. So, technically, I am in remission, but I consider myself an experiment in progress.
“In the last two months, I’ve lost another 2 kg and another 2 cm from my waist. My golf buddies tell me how slim I look, but I get a ribbing when I turn up to the post-golf BBQ with my 85% low carb bread.
“It’s a small price to pay to be in control of my health and medication-free - I’ll take it!”