By Dr Glen Davies
I have been inspired by Simon Sinek, who asks us to be clear about our ‘Why’. He says most individuals and businesses know ‘What’ they do, most know ‘How’ they do it, but very few know ‘Why’ they do it.
Let me start with ‘What’ we do.
With a team of awesome volunteers, we have formed a group called ‘Reverse T2 Diabetes Taupo’ (RT2D).
This group supports interested community members to lose weight and reverse their type 2 diabetes. We run a free meeting every Wednesday night. 30 to 120 people attend. We try to use Marae as venues as much as possible. We also run larger community meetings with up to 350 in attendance. We run a closed Facebook page with 1700 members. We supply articles for the local paper and radio. We have a comprehensive library.
We educate and support members with low-carb healthy fat and ketogenic diets. We promote a nutrition plan rich in above-ground vegetables. We strongly advise against any sugar and refined/processed carbohydrates. We promote the use of natural fats, avoiding industrial seed oils and processed fats. We emphasise the central role of hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance in the causation of overweight, obesity and diabetes. We recommend What the Fat by Prof. Grant Schofield, Dietitian Dr Caryn Zinn, and Chef Craig Rodger, as a basic textbook. We have two coaches if people are wanting to pay for additional support. RT2D Taupo is supported by the Taupo Medical Centre which runs a lifestyle medicine clinic once per week and supports patients to put their diabetes into remission.
“To date, 42 patients at Taupo Medical Centre have put their diabetes or pre-diabetes into remission.”
There are many others from the RT2D Taupo group who have done the same but we have not been collecting these statistics.
The most gratifying results have been seen in the Maori community. One particular community with 177 dwellings, have fully adopted the “Keto Kaupapa” and measure their weight loss in tons. They cater events at the Marae, LCHF. They are growing communal gardens, have cleaned out the stream so watercress is growing and are distributing food using traditional methods. Many community members hunt wild pigs and deer and many are skilled fly fishermen. At the Kura/school, processed food items are replaced with healthy options (Kapai Kai), and the unhealthy food item is sent home.
For me personally in my roll as a GP, I offer every patient the opportunity to reverse their chronic disease (Diabetes, Pre-diabetes, NAFLD, Hypertension, Gout etc.) without medication. I offer people the opportunity to reduce and hopefully stop their medications. I also discuss the importance of nutrition in cancer prevention, treatment and survivorship. I measure fasting insulin and fasting glucose and use an online calculator called QUICKI (Quantitative Insulin Sensitivity Check Index) Insulin Sensitivity QUICKI Calculator, to determine the degree of insulin resistance. I find this an important educational tool. My patients are universally grateful to be offered the choice between medication and lifestyle change. Patients who take up the challenge seem to feel empowered. Many are losing weight without being hungry and are maintaining the weight loss. I recorded weight loss stats on the first 100 patients, and they lost weight at 1.2kg per week.
“Prior to learning about the importance of hyperinsulinemia and the need to restrict carbs, I cannot recall a single case of diabetes reversal.”
Now, I consider it usual practice to reverse diabetes and often find that those who are unable to stop insulin are actually type 1 diabetes, often LADA.
Finally, my ‘Why’
I find joy in the consultation. That joy is the reason I practice medicine. I consider the role of a doctor to be an enormous privilege. I value to opportunity I have to serve my community. I find the joy has increased now that I have a more complete understanding of the main determinant of chronic disease and a highly effective tool, i.e. LCHF and Ketogenic diet, to add to my lifestyle medicine tool kit.
• I became obsessed with the concept of reversing diabetes after John Stevens shared the Direct Trial.
• I then saw the work of David Unwin in the UK using LC/HF diet.