World Diabetes Day

The 14th of November is World Diabetes Day. The aim of this day is to specifically help people put the necessary preventative methods in place as well as address and educate around the complications and adversities of this illness. 

A snapshot of this very serious illness: Type 2 Diabetes 

  • It is estimated that 420 million people around the world have type 2 diabetes
  • In 2018 about 3.5 million people suffer from diabetes in South Africa 
  • Health expenditure for diabetes for adults in South Africa is projected to increase by 50% between 2010 and 2030
  • Type 2 diabetes is caused when insulin, which the pancreas produces, is either not enough or does not work properly
  • Around 76% of diabetes-related deaths in South Africa occur in people younger than 60 years of age 

Diabetes is considered the third highest risk factor for premature death and the economic burden that diabetes poses to the nation, community and to the patient’s family is staggering, with an estimated $673 billion spent globally on diabetes care in 2015. This is aside from the overwhelming obesity epidemic our planet is facing.

The Noakes Foundation & Our Research 

In response to this, The Noakes Foundation is working tirelessly to provide evidence through research into low carb high fat diets as to enable people to live healthier lifestyles and prevent or reverse their susceptibility to getting diabetes. 

Researcher, Dr James Smith (PhD, University of Cape Town) who spearheads this research says that: “For individuals with type 2 diabetes, restricting dietary carbohydrates can have profound health benefits that are literally life changing. We should embrace this potential and focus our research and clinical efforts to help patients ensure their low carbohydrate ‘lifestyle’ includes healthy, nutrient dense and minimally processed foods”. Further to this, the community outreach arm of  The Noakes Foundation, Eat Better South Africa has experienced much praise and traction due to their phenomenal work in lower income and under-resourced communities. In September and October respectively, our programmes for the year reached completion and the response has been overwhelming. 

One of the Eat Better South Africa participants, Percy de Leeuw commented “Being a chronic diabetic and hypertensive, I was  very disturbed to only be educated about this now, almost at the point of death. I took a step of extreme confidence and decided to follow the LCHF lifestyle.  Through taking part in the Eat Better South Africa nutritional education programme, Percy is now off his insulin, his blood pressure is stable and his eyesight has improved. Percy has been part of the Eat Better South Africa program in Atlantis since 2015 , which is facilitated by one of our  inspiring community coaches, Sylvia Scholtz. 

One of the Nutrition Network’s dietitians, Tamzyn Murphy, says that diabetes is supposed to be chronic and progressive, meaning there’s no cure, and it only gets worse. She proceeds to point out that recent studies have proven this wrong: the course of diabetes can be stopped in its tracks. As a disease of high blood glucose, the single most effective thing you can do to fight it is to simply eat as little glucose as possible. In other words, eat a low carb diet.

Type 1 diabetes patients can also benefit from this type of lifestyle, one of our recent programme participants is a type 1 diabetic and has been able to stabilise her blood sugar levels and reduce her insulin units by making healthy lifestyle changes and adapting a LCHF diet.    

An inspiring overview of looking at diabetes as a mistreated societal problem from our COO, Jayne Bullen: “Diabetes is a health care problem on a systems level. The state simply cannot afford the treatment of the complications for diabetes, so people are dying from easily treatable conditions. It’s an ethical and human rights problem that people are dying of very easily preventable lifestyle diseases, today, in our country and all around us. There is no justifiable reason why poor people get poor treatment and eat terrible filler foods in today’s world. We need to do better than this!  If I could do one thing right now in public healthcare training and standard of care in South Africa, that would have the biggest possible impact on generations of people, it would simply be to change the diagnostic protocols and diet sheets of newly diagnosed diabetics and pre-diabetics, and warn them against carbohydrate loading in their diets. The changes will eventually have to come from the bottom up: consumers and patients demanding better quality food.”

Dr Hassina Kajee, Integrative Specialist Physician and director of The Noakes Foundation and Nutrition Network weighs in: “Doctors and medical students have been taught that type 2 diabetes is a chronic debilitating disease. It is true that diabetes results in loss of life and limb. This is a truth I have personally witnessed too many times. I have also been a part of that group of doctors who advise patients to eat food like oats and brown bread that are high in carbs. But, when you know better, you do better. I now know and live a reality where I treat patients who reverse their diabetes. This has been proven and continues to be in the ongoing Virta Health trial where the 2 year data shows that 55% of patients in the LCHF trail reduced their HBA1c to <6.5% (technically into the non-diabetic range), 82% of patients stopped taking insulin and there was as 67% reduction in diabetes medication. These patients continue to thrive. These are the type of results we see in our intervention with Eat Better South Africa,an intervention we undertake with a much smaller budget and resources but loads of passion, heart and drive.”

Prevention & Training 

Helping us to further our awareness and educational efforts in a significant way, is the Nutrition Network. Candice Spence, project manager of Nutrition network said that the Nutrition Network is committed to educating medical and allied healthcare professionals around the globe about the benefits of low carb nutrition, drawing attention to the fact that type 2 diabetes is reversible – giving hope to the millions who are suffering from this preventable and manageable disease. We appreciate institutions who are taking this epidemic further and doing something about managing and educating around this health crisis which improves health, lives and wellness. 

The Noakes Foundation’s mandate is to change the future outlook of human health by changing the way people eat and the food policies that enable this. We are committed to educating people and empowering them to make better choices about their health and train others to take this philosophy forward. 

Please join us as we celebrate the many who have experienced improved and better health as well as others who are standing with us in our cause. 

If you would like more information on the Nutrition Networks online training please contact or visit 

If you would like more information on our Eat Better South Africa community programmes please contact


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