The Noakes Foundation is pleased to recognise World Diabetes Day 2022. By creating awareness surrounding diabetes management, and supporting marginalised communities, we are empowering people through nutritional education programmes to eat better, to get better. We are currently experiencing a severe pandemic, however, it’s somewhat different to the chaotic pandemics, like Covid-19 or SARS, from our recent history – this one is silent and slow and it is related to people’s metabolic health and more specifically insulin resistance. The prevalence of Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has steadily increased around the world over the last decade and has affected those in developing countries most severely. In an age where medicine and technology have never been more advanced, it is essential to understand the reasons why we are experiencing a huge upsurge in chronic diseases and how we can turn the tide on our dim future outlook on human health.
The answer may lie in pinpointing the factors that could be contributing to the prevalence of T2DM and may offer a solution to the global problem. Although there may be many contributing factors, a stark example is a global trend towards urbanisation. Within the last 30 years technology and communication have boomed significantly, although a positive advancement in many ways, they have also brought issues. Developing countries are bearing the brunt of non-communicable diseases. Some countries have adopted a diet that includes unhealthy refined oils, highly processed meats and foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates. However, it isn’t necessarily the choice of developing countries to move towards more unhealthy eating patterns, it’s generally due to socio-economic factors. Healthy foods are often considered more expensive and time-consuming to cook, which could deter those from lower-income marginalized households from opting for healthier goods. However, lack of nutrition education and knowledge around the consequences of eating these harmful foods contributes to people’s choices.
Diabetes imposes a substantial economic burden on people suffering from the disease, their families, health systems, and countries in general. An estimated 240 million people live with undiagnosed diabetes worldwide, meaning almost one-in-two adults with diabetes are unaware they have the condition. Globally, 87.5% of all undiagnosed cases of diabetes are in low and middle-income countries, with low-income countries having the highest proportion of undiagnosed. Still, a serious concern is that people with diabetes diagnosed later are likely to use more healthcare services due to the greater likelihood of diabetes complications, placing an added burden on healthcare systems already under pressure. The low clinical diagnosis rate for diabetes is often due to poor access to health care and limited institutional capacity and infrastructure from the health systems.
There are a number of lifestyle changes that one can adopt to manage the symptoms and possible complications that could arise due to the disease. One prominent method is to adopt a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Generally, a diet low in carbohydrates and sugar has been promoted for the control of blood glucose levels in T2DM patients as carbohydrates are primarily recognised as the main macronutrient responsible for increasing blood glucose levels. Still, so many diabetic patients are hooked to carbohydrates and are pushed to take diabetic medicine to manage their symptoms rather than creating a healthy diabetic strategy to control or reverse, the disease. By only taking diabetic medicine and neglecting diet and exercise, the patient is still at a higher risk of developing long-term health complications, such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, nerve damage and Alzheimer’s disease. Unless dietary modification and regular physical activity are seriously considered as conventional methods to improve symptoms, diabetes symptoms will worsen and the risk for other complications will increase. Unfortunately, some medical professionals are still apprehensive to promote an LCHF diet in their practices.
Jayne Bullen (COO of The Noakes Foundation, MD of Nutrition Network, and Co-founder of Eat Better South Africa) said “The current consensus that diabetes is a progressive and, in effect, a terminal disease is the biggest ethical injustice of our time! 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.”
The Noakes Foundation and Eat Better South Africa are working incredibly hard to change this current mindset and to demonstrate to the South African population, and the world at large, that eating a healthy diet high in healthy fats and low in refined carbohydrates can be effective in protecting against obesity, hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes and many other associated conditions. Eating healthy does not have to be a time-consuming, nor an expensive process if we focus on locally produced real whole foods that align with our traditional ancestral diets. At The Noakes Foundation, we seek to reveal what genuine healthy nutrition looks like and, in doing so, make a difference in the lives of millions of people. We endeavour to offer top-quality research with regard to the LCHF lifestyle and the health benefits associated with its adoption.
If you are interested in learning more about healthy foods visit The Noakes Foundation food lists here. It can be a significant help in kickstarting your LCHF journey and provide you with the basic knowledge to begin. The Nutrition Network also has a comprehensive list of LCHF-friendly practitioners, that specializes in numerous medical fields, that may be able to assist with current dietary-related health conditions or if you would simply like to find out more about your own health. You can visit their page here to find an LCHF-friendly practitioner in your area. Moreover, take a look at our previous studies if you are interested in the science behind the LCHF lifestyle here.
We are interested in hearing of our supporters’ success stories by following the LCHF lifestyle and would love for you to share your testimonial with us. If you are interested, please write to us at email@example.com.
Thibault, V., Bélanger, M., LeBlanc, E., Babin, L., Halpine, S., Greene, B. & Mancuso, M. 2016. Factors that could explain the increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes among adults in a Canadian province: a critical review and analysis. Retrieved from: