The Noakes Foundation weighs in: Type 2 Diabetes is a disease that is reversible through sustained carbohydrate restriction

Recently Medium published this article written by Sami Inkinen, Founder & CEO at Virta Health titled “Saying Type 2 Diabetes Reversal isn’t possible is untrue and unethical”. In this article Inkinen discusses and mentions some of the latest research studies in the field of LCHF & Type 2 Diabetes. 

As The Noakes Foundation, we too believe in the reversal of Type 2 Diabetes through therapeutic carbohydrate restriction and it is our aim to fix the future outlook of human health, by changing the way people eat and the food policies to enable this. We do this through our research into LCHF diets where our dedicated team of researchers, dieticians, and scientists are on a quest to discover the truth about the effects of carbohydrates on our bodies. Our Eat Better SA programmes play a vital role in creating nutritional awareness and education in under-resourced communities and we have experienced first-hand how lives can be changed by adopting a healthy, wholefoods lifestyle. 

Dr Hassina Kajee (Specialist Physician, Medical Director of Nutrition Network, Board of Directors; The Noakes Foundation, Medical Consultant; Eat Better SA) believes that once the offending agent (carbohydrate) has been removed, the body has the innate power to heal itself. “Any doctor or healthcare provider who refutes the fact that diabetes can and is being put into remission through nutrition, without first becoming curious and studying the data, is in fact wrong. To stand in the way of patients gaining access to this knowledge that can save their lives, by openly opposing it without first having verified the facts, is in my opinion criminal and in direct opposition to the Hippocratic Oath”, she says. 

For the past 7 years, Dr Neville Wellington (Diabetes Specialist,  Medical Director of Nutrition Network, Board of Directors; The Noakes Foundation), who heads up a thirteen doctor medical practice, has been helping patients ‘reverse’ their diabetes through changing lifestyles and structured glucose monitoring. It is common for his diabetic patients to achieve HbA1c levels below 6.5% and reduce or stop medication. He states that “In all my years of practice the only lifestyle that I have seen that has truly helped reverse diabetes is a low carbohydrate lifestyle. What is great, is that now we have all these studies confirming what we are seeing in practice!” 

Tamzyn Murphy (Registered Dietician and Research Manager at Nutrition Network), points out that  Dr Richard Bernstein had already documented Type 2 Diabetes being put into remission (i.e. achieve non-diabetic blood glucose concentrations in the face of diabetic medication cessation) both in his 2007 book, Dr Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution, as well as evidenced through years of clinical practice. In 2015, Feiman et al. wrote a compelling review documenting control of blood glucose and eradication of diabetes medication when using a low carbohydrate diet to manage diabetes (i.e. remission/reversal). More than a decade later, multiple randomised controlled trials and other studies have shown that carbohydrate restriction can improve (more so than other interventions) and even reverse Type 2 Diabetes. Murphy continues to say “Why there are still nay-sayers in the face of overwhelming evidence is beyond me. I have to agree with Sami Inkinen, it’s not only unbelievable but is also unethical and unacceptable, when it gets in the way of efficacious and cost-effective treatment of an otherwise deadly disease. A simple dietary intervention could save billions of lives and billions of dollars too.” 

Jayne Bullen, group COO states that “The current consensus that diabetes is a progressive and, in effect, terminal disease is the biggest ethical injustice of our times! It is one that we owe our children to address actively so they do not suffer from the same degree of misinformation, and are not dished out a life trajectory of pharmaceutical treatment for a dietary problem. Our latest training at the Nutrition Network, Ethics, tackles this huge area of just how unethical it is to treat a newly diagnosed Type 2 Diabetic patient with medication first – which seems to be the standard of care in most places – sending them home with the death script of a combination of a high carb, low fat diet and medication that will not really support their healing. The Hippocratic Oath which in ethical terms most medical professionals today still ascribe to and are expected to loosely honour is based on the premise ‘first do no harm’, yet what we are seeing in the area of chronic disease treatment is harmful and incorrect advice being given to people. What Sami Inkinen and his team at Virta Health have done is miraculous and also utterly simple: they are leading the way applying ancient dietary knowledge of the metabolic treatment of diabetes and their voice, research and point needs to be taken seriously at the highest levels”. 

In the debate of whether to call it “reversal” or “remission”, Emeritus Professor Tim Noakes weighs in, “The key point is that the progressive decline of physiological and metabolic function is reversed. That’s what is important. What you call it is less important.”

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