Breakthrough sign

Canadian study shows LCHF works for diabesity, but that’s not the real message

Obesity and diabetes are so common these days, doctors often refer to them as diabesity. Here’s a small Canadian study in the SAMJ that posits a whole new paradigm in research to treat diabesity. It’s a path filled with life-saving promise of ‘a ‘cure’ for obesity and diabetes.

However, this study is not so much about diet as it is about terminal flaws in the system for generating evidence for medicine.

In Part 1 of a two-part series, looks at why this study by Canadian and ex-pat South African doctors just may live up to the authors’ hopes and dreams of a real breakthrough, and what that means for patients who are obese or diabetic.

More importantly perhaps, we look at why medical and dietetic establishments are not receptive to its message and evidence-based medicine.

It should be a no-brainer: globally, doctors and dietitians need a little help from scientist friends to treat obese, diabetic patients. Yet many act as if they don’t need help.

Obesity and diabetes have become pandemic worldwide. They are so common these days that doctors often refer to them as “diabesity”. The pandemics prove that conventional treatment for diabesity simply isn’t working.

A group of Canadian and South African researchers may be just the friends to turn that situation around.

In Canada, the group includes local doctors, top public health physician Dr Jay Wortman and ex-patriot South African doctors. In South Africa, it includes world-renowned scientist Prof Tim Noakes, a medical doctor and University of Cape Town emeritus professor.

They have published a study in the SAMJ (South African Medical Journal) led by Canadian epidemiologist Dr Sean Mark. They believe it’s a game changer, a breakthrough for obese and diabetic patients.

(Click here to read the full text of A successful lifestyle intervention model replicated in diverse clinical settings.)

The authors say the magnitude of obesity and diabetes pandemics creates “a public health imperative to provide practitioners with evidence that supports effective interventions”. They believe their study provides that evidence.

It documents results of a lifestyle intervention model the doctors created to treat 372 patients with diabesity in rural areas of Canada….. Read the full article


Part 2: Canadian study sheds light on weight loss and medicine that ‘no longer cures’


In Part One, South African doctors and dietitians say this small Canadian study isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

In the final Part Two, looks at why this research really does shed new light on why it work. It just might be dynamite for weight loss and diabetes, despite what the critics say.

Though small and short-term, experts say it is part of a movement towards ‘pragmatic trials’ that blur the lines between science and clinical practice. The movement is a new paradigm to replace medicine that ‘no longer cures’ and instead produces ‘customers for the pharmaceutical industry’: 

US paediatric endocrinologist Dr Jake Kushner is critical of a small Canadian study published in the SAMJ (South African Medical Journal). However, he has very different perspectives compared to South African critics in Part One.

Kushner runs one of the world’s largest diabetes centres for children. His administrative priorities at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine focus on developing innovative new models of patient-centred care, education, and cutting-edge research.

His special interest is type 1 diabetes.

He says there is “strong anecdotal evidence” for use of LCHF in people with type 1 diabetes. In some highly motivated individuals, LCHF allows people with type 1 diabetes to “truly tame the beast of dysglycemia” in this condition. (Dysglycemia is a broad term referring to any abnormalities in blood glucose levels that lead to disease.)

“LCHF allows some people who live with T1D to achieve differences in glucose control and quality of life that are simply stunning,” Kushner says.

These patient anecdotes “are encouraging. However, when it comes to the science to support low-carb diets for diabetes universally, “it’s not there yet”.

“What I can say with great confidence is that the level of science out there in support of low-carb, high-fat for type 1 and 2 diabetes is currently low,” Kushner says. “The lack of long-term follow-up in the Canadian study doesn’t allow objective evaluation of low carb approaches for the patient population.”

This deficiency may not be the fault of the researchers, he says. “There simply isn’t a lot of good science, because there hasn’t been the funding to do the right studies.”….. Read the full article