Nutritional Therapy: Support for those diagnosed or at risk of Type 2 Diabetes

As Theresa May becomes our new Prime Minister many people have said that we don’t know that much about her. But one thing which we do know is that she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2012. This type of diabetes is rarer than Type 2 especially when diagnosed later in life. However, let’s hope that she brings some attention to diabetes overall. Type 2 is a significant health issue and is on the rise, increasing by 65 per cent over the past decade. There are also thought to be 549,000 people with un-diagnosed Type 2 diabetes. It costs the NHS £10 billion a year and this is set to rise. This cost is incurred mainly in dealing with the complications of the condition such as amputations, blindness, kidney failure and stroke. However this is nothing to the human cost in suffering that these complications bring.

As the number of people living with Type 2 diabetes escalates, Diabetes UK is warning that the need for the NHS to commit to providing adequate care and diabetes education across the UK is more urgent than ever. Until this happens – and the National Audit Office recently criticised the often poor standard of care – large numbers of people will end up experiencing potentially preventable diabetes-related complications.

At the moment, more than 24,000 people a year with diabetes die before their time, which is because:

  • Only 60 per cent of people with diabetes are getting the eight NICE recommended checks [2], which are key to identifying any problems early enough to prevent complications.
  • Diabetes education courses are not being commissioned for people in over a third of areas in England [3].
  • Hospital care for people with diabetes is consistently poor and, in a significant minority of cases, is putting people’s lives at risk.

(Diabetes UK 5th January 2016

It seems a shame, when resources are so limited in the NHS, that there has been little focus on the resource that nutritional therapists could offer. As nutritional therapy is totally focused on the individual, this type of support may offer some support in prevention and in some cases reversal. It is recognised that some people with Type 2 diabetes will no longer need medication if they lose weight and become more active. Once they reach their ideal weight, their body’s own insulin and a healthy diet can control blood sugar levels without the need for drugs.

There are a number of nutritional approaches to this, such as Patrick Holford’s Low GL Diet or Michael Mosley’s Very Low Calorie Diet but one approach iStock_000008938468XSmallmay not suit everybody. So it might be helpful to discuss your particular symptoms and lifestyle with a nutritional therapist who will not only give you an appropriate and personalised diet but will support and motivate you along the way. We will shortly be offering a programme which brings together a range of nutritional and lifestyle approaches combined with actionable and practical advice to maximise your chances of prevention or reversal of this condition.

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