We’ve heard this before, haven’t we?

Millions of people suffering from Type 2 diabetes could be cured of the disease if they just lost weight, a new study suggests.
Scientists at Newcastle University have shown the disease is caused by fat accumulating in the pancreas and losing less than one gram from the organ can reverse the life-limiting illness and restore insulin production.

Sure we’ve been told this before. Indeed, it’s the way my mother dealt with it.

I have my own theory, based on absolutely no evidence at all. Which is that Type II is not in fact one disease. It’s rather more like autism in this sense, in that it’s a diagnosis of a set of symptoms, not a rigid identification of what causes those symptoms. In this sense, more like a diagnosis of “a virus” or “a fever”. Useful, but better to know whether it’s HIV or malaria before treatment.

Thus some Type II can indeed be cured by rigid dieting.

But there’s absolutely nothing to back this up other than my own prejudices.

5 thoughts on “We’ve heard this before, haven’t we?”

  1. I’d say that wasn’t prejudice but sensible caution. Separating disease entities is an old, old problem, complicated by politics and professional face-saving. Getting from syndrome to disease(s) is tricky, until some mechanism is fully understood and can be tested for.

  2. Okay. I’ll try to keep this short as possible.

    My next-door neighbour, middle-aged man, was diagnosed as having type II diabetes. He’s a pretty normal self disciplined, hard-working chap.

    He was enrolled on one of these diabetes treatment programs through his local doctor. The doctor, the specialist, the person running the treatment program, the nurse practitioner who looked after him all told him that he now had diabetes for life. He would have to change the way he ate and acted forever. He was now in the system, and would need their expertise for the rest of his life.

    They gave them a list of things he should do, and things you should avoid.

    He did them.

    When he went back to be tested he had lost weight and his insulin levels were back down to normal.

    The nurse practitioner, and then the doctor, both said this was ‘impossible’. They hadn’t seen it before.

    When they asked him, “What did you do?” He answered, “What you told me to do. Exactly.”

    They admitted that nobody who had gone through their program had ever done that before.

    And when he spoke to some of the other people on his program, they’d all been unable to stick to the diet. It had been, “too hard”. They hadn’t had that many sugary drinks that week. It was unreasonable to expect people to live like that. Wasn’t there some pill the doctor could give them to make it go away instead?

    None of them were any better. Many of them were worse. And they were all fat.

  3. I was diagnosed with T2 diabetes earlier this year. I read around a bit and ended up with the view that I can no longer tolerate carbohydrates, so I’ve cut them out. No beer, no pasta, no rice, no spuds. Instead I eat fats. Butter, cream, coconut oil, nuts, oily fish. And I drink merlot instead of ale.

    Result? In 6 months I’ve lost 2 stone, improved cholesterol and reversed the symptoms of diabetes.

    Will that work for everyone? Probably not. Is it in line with current NHS guidance? Definitely not. So I’m inclined to agree with Timmy that T2 is a grouping of different conditions with very similar outcomes.

  4. A friend of mine was told he’d got Type II, but “it’s early days, it’s not serious yet”. In the same practice one GP told him to eat a low carbohydrate diet, and a second told him to eat a low fat diet. Worse (maybe) the second told him that there was no point avoiding sugary foods.

    By the way, there are medics who subscribe to the view that Type II isn’t a properly defined disease, just a bunch of symptoms. But then the same is true of cancer: a thousand diseases with similar symptoms.

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