All of the N=1 private individuals helping establish this website have been on a health journey. For all of us some kind of chronic condition led us to question our fundamental beliefs about food and health.
Many of us are old enough to remember 1977. In 1977 saturated fat became the food that was killing us.
We recall our parents switching from whole foods to processed low fat foods. From whole milk to processed skimmed milk. We stopped frying our foods in lard or dripping and switched to processed vegetable oils.
We added in large quantities of vegetables and cereals and starchy foods, processed cereals, rice and pasta. We reduced our red meat and we ate chicken instead, fat removed.
Despite all these changes, over the years we all developed chronic conditions . Some of us also got fatter. Some of us became infertile. We developed all manner of issues, we gradually increased the number of drugs we were taking and at some point we finally visited our doctor and could no longer ignore the horrifying truth that we would die, faster than we should, from something horrible.
Recently a group of us met up. All of us were jubilant because all of us had transformed how they felt, reversed diabetes, got rid of innumerable other conditions. All of us know that whatever lies in store for us , we will face it with more hope than we had. All of us, independently , went searching for our answers .
We consulted our doctors, our dieticians , our nutritionists, our nurses and we all read avidly. We didn't know each other at all, but through the power of the internet and social media, we alll stumbled our way towards realising that hyperinsulinaemia was at the heart of our problems. We all understood that the way to deal with that was to adopt a lower carb higher natural fat diet, and through that reduce the level of inflammation and disfunctioning metabolism in our bodies.
We had a dinner that evening. A dozen people sat round restaurant table, full of renewed enthusiasm for life. All of us made similar basic food choices.
Our pre dinner snack olives and salted nuts. Our starter fatty fish, eggs or offals, Most of us eat meat, mainly red meat some with and some without vegetables. There are no vegans amongst us.
We had the restaurant prepare a diabetes freindly desert - Hot dark chololate whipped into double cream poured over a portion of raspberries with double cream and nuts.
We happily washed that down with a glass of red wine and some cold water. We walked to our restaurant a distance that many of our party would not have been able to cover for many years.
For many of our party, we took our health journey unaided by our official health professionals, sometimes in direct opposition to their notions of "healthy eating" .
Even today many of our health professionals look on in bemusement as our health markers reverted back to healthy levels that some of us have never seen. Just like those published by Virta Health
More importantly we all have a renewed zest for life. Numbers on medical sheets tell one story. But for us the bigger story is the sense that we got our lives back.
We have reduced our brain fog, our retinopathy, our dry coughs, our carpel tunnel syndromes, our migraines . and innumerable other conditions
We will never again listen to someone telling us to eat a low fat, low saturated, low salt, low red meat diet. None of us will pay any attention too five star health ratings applied to processed foods. Why should we? it was killing us before.
This website draws together the expertise we found and pays tribute to all those who helped us find our way.
We suspect and hope that our story will resonate with many across the world.
I am 60 years old, a teenager when dietary guidelines exhorted us all to switch to polyunsaturated fats, and carbohydrates in preference to meats. My family followed the news enthusiastically. Low fat products, cereals, feeling guilty at ordering a steak, which I hardly ever did. For the record I didn't eat sugar either - I did wholeheartedly embrace low fat though.
I distinctly recall conversations with my later, naturally slim husband, when he was tucking into his steak and I was eating my " boil in a bag" calorie counted, low fat, low sat fat , low salt option. He was so "Lucky" to be able to eat in such an unhealthy fashion.
Forty years on a perpetual roller coaster of hunger pangs, weight gain and ill health followed in 2016 by diabetes . I now find out that the " science" upon which this was all based was actually just a well -intentioned guess. One that went spectacularly wrong.
I found out a few more things too:
· That in 1915 we treated diabetics with a low carbohydrate diet - now totally counter to current carbohydrate heavy guidelines
· That in 1912 we knew how to fatten hogs -use cereals & skimmed milk - Official guidelines for all today.
· That in 1951 the advice to lose weight was to reduce carbohydrates.
· That food questionnaires upon which most of this epidemiological data has been generated are probably fundamentally flawed -
o Grapes & raspberries in the same box - why? because they are small ? they have totally different effects on the human body .
o Meat products "reconstituted animal by products wrapped in refined flours cooked in seed oils " confused with and now used to warn anyone from anyone eating traditional air dried meat products.
· That the questioners betray both their nutritional ignorance & their cultural bias, much of the meat consumed not even in the experience of the average American epidemiologist. (think cow's stomach - on the menu everywhere in Japan)
· That many of the studies of whatever origin come complete with a massive bias from the funder and that the "plant based" lobby largely represents the processed food industry.
· That this new standard diet is so appalling that just about anything will be an improvement - paving the way for an explosion in pharmaceutical interventions many simply attempting to deal with the consequences of poor diet.
I, like so many others, stopped going to my doctor, instead I turned to those with practical experience and sorted out my health myself .
I got rid of processed food, refined carbs. & polyunsaturated fats .
I got rid of anything with a " healthy" label - Low fat, low sat. fat, low salt = AVOID
If it's low sugar - turn over, find out just how many refined carbs are hidden in it - then AVOID
So in essence I moved back to eating traditional foods popular before epidemiologists "helped" to confuse us all as they continue to do.
The decision to vilify saturated fat and with it the food of our forefathers, paved the way to the current global catastrophe. Epidemiologists bear some responsibility for this catastrophe and continue to do so.
It is time that those responsible stood up and admitted to the world that they got it wrong, before we see an even greater fall in fertility and increase in suffering.
I , and thousands of others , are angry every time we see you justifying your existence blinded to the damage you have all done to us with your speculative pronouncements decrying the food we have eaten for generations.
I , watch with horror, as I see new generations being led down the same path - eat a carbohydrate heavy diet , experience massive hunger pangs but it's your fault if you can't resist the refined foods on display everywhere. Food aid of skimmed milk and cereals given to the poor. Cafe's where it's not even possible to put full fat milk in one's tea.
Doctors developing skills to remove parts of stomachs of those who succumbed to this evil brew of low fat, carbohydrate heavy processed foods.
I am only an N=1, my voice does not count. I IGNORE official guidelines and tell anyone I can think of that they need to do so too. The food pyramid derived from epidemiology is actively harming the population. and more importantly for me - ME.
Instead I eat - the same stuff my husband was eating to keep slim all those years ago - good quality proteins, meat of all types, offals, fish, vegetables. dairy, eggs. I avoid polyunsaturated fats and anything it gets put in, like the plague. Vegetables are side dishes, fruits - a sweet treat - nature's candy.
My reward ? weight loss, stable blood sugars, renewed energy, reversal of diabetes ( Hba1c 5.3% from 10.3%) improved cholesterol and all other health markers into a healthy range, no more hunger pangs, food cravings, need to snack . Such a simple fix - understand the power of real unprocessed foods - stuff that does not need a label at all.
When Sceintists puts out a study suggesting that eating 63 portions of vegetables per day is a healthy option for humans, and governments stay silent, when instead they should withdraw funding, then you just know - we as human beings are on our own.
I am only N=1, but trust me, we number thousands and we will not put up with the current situation for much longer. It is time to be honest and let the world know that research got it wrong and that nutrition science as it currently stands is a total fail.
Competing interests: No competing interests
I am a T2 diabetic. I was diagnosed type 2 in December 2017 at the age of 55.
Being diagnosed diabetic has for me has been a life saver, a blessing in disguise. Strange thing to say but here is why I feel this way.
I am now in the best shape I have ever been in my life. I understand my body and its needs, and found out exactly how to regain and maintain my health. The sad part for me is that throughout my adult life I thought I was eating the right way, following The Eatwell Guide and low fat advice. Starting in the morning with a bowl of cereal with low fat milk, a slice of wholemeal toast and a glass of fresh orange juice. I had a sandwich at lunchtime or if I was having a working lunch a couple of bananas. Pasta, rice or jacket potato would be part of most dinners. Surely that must mean I was eating healthily. I would like to take this opportunity to share what I subsequently found out.
For this I will need to go back to my diagnosis. I had gone to the GP thinking something was seriously wrong. Heartburn that was constant and hadn’t subsided in 6 weeks or more. Sudden and severe IBS and I mentioned a dry mouth. Bloods were taken and an ultrasound scan requested. The blood results came back and I was booked in with the Diabetic nurse who confirmed that my HBA1c was 62mmol/l (anything over 47mmol/l is diabetic) so I was well into the diabetic range. My scan had showed a fatty liver which was another sign. The nurse also told me that I needed to go on medication to try to lower it. I should also try to lose weight and exercise. She also gave me the devastating news that my diabetes would be progressive. No hope was given, just some leaflets and a booklet with information on diabetes in my 30 minute appointment and an offer to go on a day course called DESMOND. She did draw me a diagram of how sugar works in your body when you have diabetes. Basically the excess sugar sticks to red blood cells and builds up in the blood. Too much sugar in the blood damages blood vessels and can lead to serious problems in any part of your body. I already knew much of this as I saw my mum suffer with her own diabetes. She ended up registered blind, she had a stroke, kidney problems, sores on her legs that wouldn’t heal, the community nurse was out most days to her to dress the wounds, high blood pressure, and more. Even though she was on insulin injections her blood sugars were uncontrolled and she often had hypos and felt very unwell.
I was devastated at my own diagnosis and thoughts of a similar journey for me and my poor family. I had read articles about people being able to reverse their diabetes. I knew bariatric surgery could reverse it as a close member of my family had done it this way herself. 10 years on still no diabetes. I declined medication and asked for a 2 month reprieve to see if I could help myself. I really didn’t want to go on tablets as I have an aversion to them. My daughter had taken Minocin for acne and ended up with drug induced lupus and my mum was herself offered Thalidomide when pregnant with me but thankfully refused.
I asked if I was to be given a blood glucose monitor but was told that monitoring can make you obsessive. They only give them out to Type 1s and diabetics who are on medication that can cause hypoglycaemia.
So I went home and went straight on Google and input 2 words ‘reversing diabetes’ It took me to Diabetes.co.uk and The Low Carb Program. I didn’t have a clue what a carb was but soon found out that carbs turn to sugar! It made sense to lower carbs as a diabetic because basically we are allergic to sugar. In fact every diabetic forum I went on in my search for knowledge confirmed the same thing. Type 2 diabetes was in fact reversible, and the best way to do that was to go low carb. This meant ignoring all the advice in the NHS booklet I had been given. Advice that encouraged me to eat cereal, fruit juice, bread, pasta, rice and basically lots of starchy carbs and lower my fat intake. The low carb way of eating encouraged eating healthy natural fats like cream, butter, cheese, olive oil, eggs, avocado, fatty fish, meat, full fat yoghurt. But I was prepared to give it a go, especially as I could see the magnificent results the forum members were having as the details were in their individual signatures. Hba1c going from triple figures (e.g. 125) down to figures in the 20s! I noticed people were losing vast amounts of weight. Their blood pressure was normalising (mine was at this time borderline for medication), cholesterol ratios improving and lots of other health issues were disappearing like migraine attacks and brain fog and people seemed to have lots more energy. So many positives. Everything I was reading gave me great hope that I could do this too.
Another thing that diabetics were encouraging others to do was to invest in a blood glucose monitor to see which foods suited and which didn’t. And keep a food diary. We are all different and it isn’t one size fits all. ‘You wouldn’t cross a road blindfolded’ one member said to me.
So on 8th December 2017 I followed the advice from other diabetics. and I tested, tested, tested. And sure enough the sugar spikes came from starchy carbs. So I felt confident in ignoring the guidelines. I swapped high carb food for low carb. I made better choices from the information that 4 grams of carbohydrates equated to approximately 1 teaspoon of sugar. I read labels, I cooked from scratch and avoided processed foods and low fat products as I discovered that both are loaded with sugar.
In less than 1 month I lost 14lbs. And another 14 lbs by the next month. On 19 February 2018 my bloods were taken by my diabetic nurse who was astonished to see my hba1c had dropped to 47 (pre diabetic level). Apparently nobody had done this before. My blood pressure had normalised.
By May's blood test my Hba1c had dropped to 41mmol/l which is classed as normal and I had lost 3 stone, a welcome side effect to the low carb way of eating. By July I had reached my weight goal and had lost 50lbs. My next review in November 18 my hba1c was 39 and I was maintaining my ideal weight. My nurse said I was officially classed as being in remission. I have maintained my weight easily now for over 18 months and my latest hba1c in November 19 was 36.
I am now working closely with 5 GP surgeries locally helping other diabetics and people who might want to lose weight. My surgery have been ultra supportive asn they can see the benefits and as such helped me to produce a 4 page leaflet to give to any patients interested in learning more about controlling blood sugars which can lead to reducing and even coming off medication.
I give talks and presentations on my journey. These include many visuals of foods and equivalent sugar cubes. The jacket potato is always the one that draws gasps at approximatrely 19 tesaspoons of sugar per large potato and the 'healthy' banana which can have around 10 in! I help as much as possible on social media sites. I share my journey with anyone who is interested to give HOPE. Hope is being able to see light despite all the darkness. I have seen the light.
8 December 2017 HbA1c 62
19 February 2018 HbA1c 47
15 May 2018 HbA1c 41
20 November 2018 HbA1c 39
2 April 2019 HbA1c 40
18 November 2019 hbA1c 36
Weight down from 14 stone 7lbs to 10 stone 7lbs. Currently maintaining well
My friends and family were a bit stunned when I started losing weight and especially the speed of it, because it was quite quick. And some other friends, in fact we were seeing on Sunday, they’ve started cutting their own carbs down. And I try and evangelize about it as much as I can and it seems that people are starting to listen.
Well, I think, obviously it’s been very good for me and I’ve lost weight and I am healthier. After one year on keto I suddenly got this burst of energy. We were on holiday in the Canary Islands. I woke up and thought, “I want to go the gym.”
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