Jakub went to his doctor’s office believing that he had a back injury, but returned with a shocking diagnosis instead. He had type 2 diabetes – in spite of eating a balanced diet, being active and of normal weight!
Thankfully however, he stumbled upon the work of a few low-carb advocates, and decided to give it a serious try. The rest is history:
One day in 2016, I overdid it again. One too many kettlebell lifts, and my lower back gave up. Being physically active has its downsides, I thought, and reluctantly booked an appointment with my doctor. Nothing was helping, and so my doctor sent me for a CT scan. A scan that would turn my world upside down.
When my doctor looked at the radiology report, he had two pieces of news. No back injury was picked up on the scan, but then his face turned dark: “Your liver is enlarged and that could indicate diabetes. I will send you for a glucose tolerance test to confirm.”
Sure enough, a few days later (June 2016), the results came back – type 2 diabetes confirmed. I was devastated, and my horror got worse when I saw “chronic progressive disease” written everywhere I looked, and hundreds of photos of patients with various diabetic complications.
Ahead of my next appointment in one of the best hospitals in my country, I frantically researched online and started reading a book I got years ago. William Davis and Wheat Belly. He talked a lot about refined carbohydrates but it was not immediately clear as to how that could be relevant to me – I have always eaten a balanced diet, been physically active and never had a weight issue.
The appointment was quick and after a few formal questions, metformin and statins ended up in my drug chart. My question about recommended carbohydrate intake was brushed off and I was told to reduce my intake to about 250 grams per day. Right. So that was it, medical care at the best hospital in my country.
A chronic progressive disease, and lifetime medication. My head started spinning and for some time, I was truly shell-shocked. However, shortly after my appointment, I randomly picked up a Facebook post about a talk by an American doctor, Sarah Hallberg, about reversing diabetes by ignoring dietary guidelines, shared by a well-known and respected nutritionist. In the discussion, I then discovered Dietdoctor.com and many other links to the concept of a low-carbohydrate high-fat diet (LCHF), including to systematic reviews and meta-analysis of RCT studies supporting the efficacy and safety of LCHF in type 2 diabetes. That was it, my game plan now was to reverse my diabetes, shake it off as a flu. By September 2016, I was off statins and stopped taking metformin.Eventually, in October 2016, I managed to get an appointment with an experienced diabetologist at a university hospital who offered some great advice and excellent insights on LCHF approach in type 2 diabetes. We agreed to give LCHF a serious try, without resorting to medications for the moment. The rest is history. I cut back to about 70 grams of carbohydrates per day, and topped up with good quality protein and fatty foods, creating my own LCHF plan in the process. I lost about 15 kg (33 lbs), had to buy new trousers (a side effect not described in RCT studies), my HbA1c went from 54 to 38 and blood glucose from diabetic range to normal (see the chart). I feel great, which would be impossible without the amazing support of my wife. I also introduced intermittent fasting and am now looking to strengthen my muscles. Also, I will be carefully watching my cardiovascular risk going forward, just in case any further dietary or medication changes are necessary.
Adopting a well formulated LCHF for our family had a clear impact on our budget – we spend some 20% more on food and try to get the best quality foods within reason, whilst saving on food products we don’t buy anymore. However, with my T2D getting into a remission zone, I am wondering how many newly diagnosed type 2 diabetic patients get an instant metformin + statin prescription, without ever hearing a word about LCHF.
I am very grateful to my doctor – an excellent coach and a great person – and also to social media. Without Facebook, it might have taken me a few extra weeks or months to find out everything I needed to know about LCHF.
Jakub’s doctor, Dr. Hana Krejci, comments
In Jakub’s case, I really did not have to do much. Jakub contacted me shortly after I saw a fascinating talk on Dietdoctor.com by RD Dikeman on avoiding complications in type 1 diabetes, which led me to review the work of Richard Bernstein in great detail – to my mind, his Diabetes Solution is one of the best textbooks of diabetology ever written. We discussed Jakub’s idea to follow LCHF in more detail, agreed on blood glucose measurements and on his personal goals.
It seemed to me that he took an “engineering” approach to his disease, recording everything and aiming to improve, or rather, to shake off his diabetes. One of the things we figured out was that buckwheat raised Jakub’s blood glucose too much in the morning – once removed, his glycaemic control instantly got better.
Jakub has now technically put his type 2 diabetes in remission and requires no medication at all. He himself is very much responsible for such a remarkable outcome. Patients like Jakub make our lives as doctors super easy. I hope to see more patients like him in the future.
What a fantastic story Jakub! Congratulations to your fantastic health journey.
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