LIFE HEALTH: A Fat Chance ; Is It Ever Safe for Diabetics to Try a `Faddy' Diet? LINDA WATSON- BROWN Found One That Helps Her Both to Lose Weight and Control Her Condition
Watson-Brown, Linda, The Independent (London, England)
When I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes 20 years ago, I had mixed feelings. Once treatment began, I felt better than I could remember, but I had an image of being diabetic that didn't appeal. Chocolate would be forbidden. I would survive on sugar-free squashes and a regime of carefully counted carbohydrate "exchanges". It was all going to be terribly restrictive.
As an adult, I feel there are even more exclusions. For some time, I have been wanting to lose weight. And everyone except me is on some kind of celebrity diet.
Until a week or so ago. Before then, there were two unanswered questions. Can diabetics diet like everyone else? And can their overall health and control actually benefit from apparently "faddy" regimes?
Yes, believes Jan de Vries. The healer, who has clinics in the UK, was diagnosed as diabetic a few years ago. "It came at a time when I was physically, emotionally and mentally drained," he recalls. "I've spent my working life emphasising how important it is to have all three aspects of the body working in harmony, but I didn't have that balance myself when I was diagnosed. My doctor revealed that my blood sugars had rocketed and I was faced with a lifetime of treatment. I begged him for six weeks to deal with it myself. He could not believe it when I returned. Through diet and supplements, I had got my bloods down to perfect levels - and I still manage that."
De Vries is sceptical about generalised dieting advice. "Although there are obviously broad guidelines everyone should adhere to, I believe that individually tailored diets are the key. You need to look at all aspects of your life, not just what you are eating. For diabetics this can be done, and I would always suggest particular natural remedies and supplements, such as Vitamin E, to be taken in conjunction with any diet to lower blood sugar and help weight loss."
De Vries's approach - individually tailored diets with specific supplements - may well work, but many people simply can't obtain or afford specialised advice. And the lure of a new bestselling diet book may be overpoweringly addictive, diabetic or not.
What many experts don't take into account is that "textbook" diabetes simply doesn't exist. From diagnosis, I had found out exactly how to manipulate my blood sugars. Insulin is not actually restrictive. Any reasonably switched-on diabetic knows that virtually nothing is off limits as long as a couple of extra units are bunged in the syringe. I had it down to a fine art. Come the glucose check, I could pretty much guarantee that I would return decent numbers.
But I was still wary of "diets". I had mine. It involved tricky balancing of rubbish food and pharmaceutical concoctions, but it felt safe. However, now, to my amazement, many dieting gurus are not excluding the insulin- challenged - we're being positively wooed. Anecdotally, it is claimed that diets such as Atkins et al can help diabetics to control the condition. Some say such diets have enabled them to stop taking insulin.
But is it true? Atkins advocates say that the fastest way to lose weight is to starve the body of carbohydrates to the point at which it burns fat instead. This is done in a two-week carbohydrate "crash". "Your body burns both carbohydrates and fat as fuel," says the bestselling Atkins Nutritional Principles. "Carbohydrate is the first fuel to be metabolised. However, when you cut down sufficiently on your intake of carbohydrates, your body converts from the metabolic pathway of burning carbohydrate to burning fat as the primary energy source. The result is weight loss."
Can it work for diabetics? Emma Bunn, a dietician and care adviser at Diabetes UK, thinks it's unlikely. "We don't recommend the Atkins diet at all for diabetics," she says. "The reality is that there is insufficient evidence for the …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: LIFE HEALTH: A Fat Chance ; Is It Ever Safe for Diabetics to Try a `Faddy' Diet? LINDA WATSON- BROWN Found One That Helps Her Both to Lose Weight and Control Her Condition. Contributors: Watson-Brown, Linda - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: July 28, 2003. Page number: 11. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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