‘Before diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes there is a long silent scream from the liver’

Dr. David Unwin, a.k.a. @LowCarbGP, is a standout among my Health Sherpas. Over the last 9 years he has revolutionized his National Health Service practice just north of Liverpool, England by encouraging patients with Type 2 diabetes to adopt a low-carbohydrate diet.

More than 100 of these patients have been able to reverse their diabetes and get off their diabetes medications.

Before his low-carb change, he had never seen that happen among his patients.

Not even once.

In the video below, Dr. Unwin shares several of those patient examples, as well as research that supports the assertion of his colleague, Professor Roy Taylor, which is the title of this post and of the video.

Some of Dr. Unwin’s key nuggets:

  • Type 2 diabetes, raised triglyceride levels and abnormal liver function are linked to each other and to increased mortality.
  • 24% of the patients in his practice had abnormal liver function (GGT) tests, and 32% had an abnormal triglyceride result.
  • For several years he would watch these lab results with a feeling of helplessness because while he knew these patients were at higher risk of both cardiovascular disease and death, he didn’t really know what to do to help them. Statins, which are often prescribed for high cholesterol levels, don’t really help with triglycerides.
  • High triglyceride levels and low HDL-cholesterol are strong predictors of a poor outcome with COVID-19.
  • 25% of the developed world has Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.
  • 3.3 million people have died of COVID-19 worldwide in the last 18 months. 4.2 million die of diabetes every year.
  • He then shows the example of a patient with diabetes, high triglycerides and abnormal liver function, and that cutting carbohydrates fixed all three problems. He also details why this works.
  • High carbohydrate diets not only lead to fat accumulation in the liver and pancreas, but even in the tongue, which could be responsible for sleep apnea.
  • Many patients with fatty liver are dismayed to be treated with suspicion by their physicians, who believe the patients must be consuming excessive alcohol. In reality, the fatty liver in these patients is due to an excess of carbs.
  • Dr. Unwin has developed infographics to help patients identify which foods have high carb loads, and what the equivalent teaspoons of table sugar would be in each.
  • Finally, he shares compelling data from his practice, showing the improvements in triglycerides, HDL-c, liver function, weight and HbA1c after patients adopt a low-carbohydrate diet.

Dr. Unwin is unfailingly polite and understated in his delivery, which makes his conclusions all the more compelling.

I believe you’ll find this video well worth your time to watch and listen.

For more of his wisdom, see Dr. David Unwin on Cutting Carbs.

Building on our last few years’ experience and the results of our health journey, my wife Lisa and I are launching a new health-related venture next month, working with a friend who is a family physician. He shares Dr. Unwin’s concern about metabolic syndrome and his passion for equipping patients in making diet and lifestyle changes that can dramatically improve their health.

If you’re interested in learning about it, send me an email and I’ll be in touch to give you a preview.

Dr. David Unwin on Cutting Carbs

Most people readily agree, whatever their dietary predispositions or convictions, that reducing sugar intake is an important first step toward sustainable weight loss.

What many fail to appreciate is that carbohydrates — especially starches — are essentially long strings of sugars joined together. And when your body digests them, chopping them apart, that can raise your blood glucose level as much as a sugar-sweetened beverage.

That’s one of the points Dr. David Unwin, one of my Health Sherpas, makes in this tweet:

In the video below he is addressing the Royal College of General Practitioners in London at their 2018 Public Health Collaboration Conference.

He describes:

  • how he had seen the number of patients with diabetes in his practice increase by more than 1,000% since the 1980s,
  • how through a low-carb diet about 50% of his patients with diabetes were able to get it into remission without the use of drugs,
  • how Norwood Surgery went from the poorest quality ratings for diabetes management in his region of the NHS to the best in just five years,
  • how Norwood spends the least on diabetes medications of any practice in his region, and
  • Why bananas are so terrible.

That last point comes from this innovative infographic Dr. Unwin has developed to represent various types of carbohydrates in terms of teaspoons of sugar equivalents.

See all of the carb categories converted to sugar teaspoon equivalents.

Dr. Unwin also describes how his patients’ diets, which because they are low-carb are necessarily higher in fat, also have led to

  • lower blood pressure and triglycerides,
  • higher HDL (good) cholesterol
  • improved liver function
  • average weight loss of 9.7 kg (21.3 lbs.) over an average of 26 months.

And according to a heart disease risk calculator from the Joint British Societies for the prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, they also saw a reduction of 12 years of “heart age.”

One of the main fears many have related to a low-carb, high-fat diet is that they will raise their “cardiovascular risk.” If that’s a concern for you, I hope you’ll make time to watch this video.

Dr. Unwin says that in 25 years of practice he had never seen a patient with type 2 diabetes go into remission.

Not even once.

In the last five years, using a low-carb diet, about half have achieved remission.

These are truly remarkable results, but Dr. Unwin is not alone in achieving them. In future posts I’ll introduce you to some of his low-carb co-belligerents.

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