Diabetes causes 160 lower limb amputations per week.
This is the headline on the envelope from Diabetes UK.
Diabetes can affect anyone. It is often associated with being obese and eating a poor diet.
This simply isn’t true. I can tell you that with complete authority because I was neither obese nor eating a bad diet when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in April.
At 13 stone I was just over the ideal range for my height of 5ft 9". A little overweight but nowhere near obese.
I was careful with my diet, no sugary at all — I like fruit tea without sugar or most often Earl Grey, Hot.
I ate a low fat diet with a plate that fitted current recommendations of food group portions, where carbohydrates take up a third of your daily plate, fruit and veg another third and the rest dairy and protein based.
On being diagnosed, I set about learning everything I could about the condition. Some of the new information I found was startling.
Firstly, studies have found that Type 2 diabetes can be reversed.
[Gregg,EW, Chen,H et al., “Association of an intensive lifestyle intervention with remission of type 2 diabetes”, Journal of the American Medical Association, 308, (2012)]
Reverse your Diabetes by Dr David Cavan, a step by step guide to taking control of type 2 diabetes became my bible for the 3 months following my diagnosis. One of the main lifestyle changes advocated was for a massive reduction in the amount of carbohydrates consumed while not worrying about the amount of fat in dairy products.
I reduced my total carb in take for the day to less than 100g and found this brought my blood glucose level down gradually over a month. It had the added benefit that I was loosing weight. In fact over 3 months I shed over 2 stone to get down to 10 st 7lbs, my ideal weight. I have slightly increased my carb intake and maintained this weight. More importantly my blood sugar level is now in the normal range and my blood pressure is also lower.
I am, of course, just one case among millions. But the statistics are increasingly pointing to the bad guy at the food table not being fats at all but carbohydrates. There are hidden sugars and carbohydrates in an astonishing number of our foods, especially the kind children love. Is it a ticking time bomb?
This journey for me is not a diet but a change of lifestyle — I want to be around for all my grandchildren, preferably with all my limbs.
I would love to hear other people’s experiences, please share in the comments.