Coming soon: groundbreaking conference on type 2 diabetes


We recently reported on the changing landscape of low-carb nutrition. An upcoming fall conference for clinicians, led by a Canadian nonprofit, suggests that — at least for people with type 2 diabetes — even more changes are in store.

The Institute for Personalized Therapeutic Nutrition (IPTN), is hosting a first-of-its-kind virtual conference on October 3, 2020, titled, “Type 2 Diabetes: Moving from Management to Remission.” The conference is being held in partnership with the University of British Columbia’s Continuing Professional Development programs, which is part of the institute’s medical school.

The IPTN aims to prepare health professionals to safely prescribe therapeutic nutrition. This includes carbohydrate-reduced diets, as well as, other nutrition interventions.

What is so unusual about this conference?

First, it is focused solely on type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes. Most conferences held by diabetes advocacy groups address both type 1 and type 2 diabetes — although, in many ways these are vastly different diseases.

However, that’s not the most important aspect of this conference.

Reversal of diabetes can be a safe option for all

What makes this conference a potential turning point for people with type 2 diabetes is the bold statement IPTN is making for patients, indicated by the conference’s title. IPTN is using this conference to launch an effort to make reversal and remission part of the standard of care offered to patients with type 2 diabetes.

We have recently seen low-carb diets become accepted as options for nutrition therapy when treating type 2 diabetes. IPTN hopes to also make “reversal and remission,” not just “management,” a standard option offered to people with type 2 diabetes.

Currently, the evidence shows that two dietary interventions can induce type 2 diabetes remission: very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets and very low-calorie diets.

Carbohydrate reduction accepted as nutrition therapy for diabetes

Very low-carbohydrate diets are becoming widely accepted as an option for people with type 2 diabetes.

Last year, the American Diabetes Association released a consensus report moving away from previous “one-size-fits-all” guidance to include low-carbohydrate diets as options that can be offered to individuals with type 2 diabetes. This followed a similar report in May 2017 from Diabetes UK, which states: “The current evidence suggests that low-carb diets can be safe and effective for people with type 2 diabetes.”

Now, Diabetes Canada has joined these diabetes advocacy groups in a position statement, which indicates that for individuals with type 2 diabetes, “a low-[carbohydrate] diet may be effective for weight loss and improved glycemic control with a reduction in the need for antihyperglycemic therapies.”

Although these statements were a huge leap forward for the treatment of type 2 diabetes with low-carb diets, none of them fully addressed the potential for reversal or remission with dietary therapies. IPTN is hoping to change all that, beginning with their October conference.

This conference will not only cover remission and low-carbohydrate diets, but it will also include talks on low-calorie diets, plant-based diets, using dietary interventions in underserved populations, and using a team-based approach to patient care and safety.

While the conference is targeted at healthcare professionals, interested members of the public are invited, as well. As Sean McKelvey, CEO of IPTN, notes, “Informing the public about their options can be an effective way to get these same messages to clinicians.”

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