Mission: Reverse Diabetes – Our Most Ambitious Film Project Yet

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Is it possible to reverse diabetes in 100 million people by the year 2025? And if so, how on earth would you do it?

This is the personal story about how the entrepreneur and triathlon champion Sami Inkinen helped start a Silicon Valley health company, that just might change the world.

This is also our most ambitious film project yet. Watch the first brief teaser above, we’ll share more soon.

The full 18-minute documentary has just been finalized and you can watch it right away, with a free trial or membership:

Mission: Reverse Diabetes

Join free for a month to get instant access to this and hundreds of other low-carb TV videos. Plus Q&A with experts and our awesome low-carb meal planner service.

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19 Comments

  1. Peggy
    Diet Doctor has been really helpful to me over the past year and I have found my membership to be of great value. One thing I have appreciated most about the site is that you never pushed products. It was just good, well-supported information and advice.

    This film, though, is just a huge infomercial for one man and one company. There wasn't much content about low carb. It was just a lot of slick corporate blah blah. Plus, I really question the point of a company like this, when people can get such great advice and support for much cheaper from Diet Doctor and other online sites. One of the messages that I feel I have learned from Diet Doctor is that low carb is something doable for all people that doesn't cost a lot of money. It's a way to push back against the pharmaceutical and food companies that exist to make a profit by taking advantage of people. But now you are advertising a company that is doing essentially the same thing.

    Reply: #4
  2. Pats
    I agree; this was just a glossy 20 minute advert containing nothing of any value with respect to low carb. What I like about this site is that it is free of sponsorship and advertising - I subscribe because I believe ultimately the team behind it has altruistic ideals and aims, rather than profit. I find un-critical infomercials such as this very off putting.
  3. Jocelyn
    Totally agree with Peggy and Pats. Whilst it is an admirable aim of Virta to try to reduce incidence of diabetes by 100,000,000, surely Dietdoctor has everything required, bar perhaps the medical supervision.

    Dietdoctor has worked for me, common sense with regard to medications and a keen interest in the latest research keeps me motivated.

    One of the most powerful things about Dietdoctor is the taking back of control (as much as possible) of ones own health.

    Perhaps this is why Virta though admirable sounded a sour note for me.

  4. We never push products or do advertising.

    The video about Sami and Virta may end up being good publicity for them, but it was done 100% on our expense. All they supplied were their time and their story.

    I happen to think their story is amazing and exciting and their goal is incredibly aspirational. Empowering 100 million people with type 2 diabetes to reverse their disease is clearly a worthy goal that resonates strongly with the Diet Doctor goal. That's why we made a video about them.

    Some people find the Virta model of supplying real time low-carb coaching and medical support to people with diabetes as a for-profit company off-putting. But there is no way to supply that level of care for free to 100 million people, it just would not get done without heavy government intervention, and that could take decades (if it ever happens).

    I think there's plenty of room for different models when it comes to type 2 diabetes and metabolic disease. Here at Diet Doctor we'll keep giving away as much as we possibly can for free, all people need to reverse their disease, fully supported by the $9 per month from our long-term members (those that choose to continue after a free trial). But we'd be hard pressed to supply something like the level of medical support from US doctors that Virta offers with our model, it just might be impossible. So there's a need for both I believe.

    Besides, on our member pages we already have 16 straight incredibly positive comments about the mini-movie about Sami and Virta (plus a 4.8/5 rating), nobody has said a negative word about it yet. Personally I've watched it over and over and think it's by far the best video we've done so far.

  5. Pats
    I'm gobsmacked that Diet doctor actually made and funded the infomercial - I had assumed it was a promo they'd produced themselves and that Diet doctor was simply giving it publicity! I don't expect my subscription to be used to produce a glossy advert for a multi million dollar profit making medical start up, however laudable its mission statement may appear! Really disappointing.
    Reply: #6
  6. Pats,
    If it makes you any happier I'm sure they are not making any profit yet, and so far they've taken in at least $37 million dollars from their investors to fund their company and start working toward their goal of reversing diabetes in 100 million people.

    The members who have watched the video do not appear to be disappointed, here are a few comments from them to balance this discussion:

    "This was riveting, Andreas!...By the way, beautifully photographed and presented. Gorgeous film."

    "Great work Andreas and Sami??? I hope every news outlet and documentary maker receive a copy of this to spread the word."

    "Just plain amazing. It encourages me that the people behind all of this share an enormous passion to help people become healthy. Keep up the good work!"

    "Beautifully filmed and produced! Delighted that you have chosen to feature this revolutionary project in the USA which shares so much of the Dietdoctor vision."

    "Oh, my. This is so well-produced, and the content, people and mission are truly inspirational. I feel privileged to know this story and am grateful to you for sharing it."

    "Absolutely brilliant!"

    "Right people on the right place. It might just work out ! Nice to see!"

    "Absolutely brilliant and inspirational. I have no doubt whatsoever that the goal will be achieved. Beautifully filmed and edited, Andreas. Great credit to you and everyone involved in bringing this to us. Feeling privileged."

    "Short and sweet, packed with information. He is truly an engaging subject. Thank you. Would love to see more like it."

    "Wonderful story!!!!"

  7. SteveM
    I think the complaint here is the lack of a critical cost review of Virta in the accompanying text. Without that, Diet Doctor is doing supplying a biased endorsement. Related to development costs Vitra has assembled $37 Million from investors. The target monthly cost is $400 a month or $4,800 a year. Which is a LOT of money. If Vitra acquires 1,000,000 rather than 100,000,00,00 steady-state customers, gross revenues would be $4.8 Billion. Not bad a bad ROI for running a database platform while providing incidental coaching services via email and text.

    Vitra does collect personal health stats, but that suggests a couple of observations. I.e., daily data collection keeps the user involved, but are day to changes really significant? E.g. Is Tueday's weight compared to Monday in any way meaningful? Or is that data collection for its own sake to rationalize the cost of the program?

    Based on a related article in the NY Times, Vitra's target business model is based on insurance company and government reimbursement. So they are largely counting on significant third party subsidies. If Medicaid/Medicare pays for a Vitra membership then the assumption would be that the consumer would stay on it for life because the cost is not coming out of his or her pocket.

    But who can begrudge Sami Inkinen from exploiting the economic pathology of U.S. health care reimbursements? "Scooter Store" companies made money hand over fist for years because the government paid for them. Someone just needs to point out the analogy because that $4,800 a year could be allocated to other more value added health care support.

    A natural comparator for Vitra is Weight Watchers. The cost of that program ranges from $16 to $45 a month. The higher fee membership also includes remote access coaching. Weight Watchers could easily add an LCHF advice and tracking protocol as an alternative module to it's existing platform and offer it at 1/10 the price of Vitra.

    And as a much more affordable workaround, a person could keep their stats on a simple spreadsheet for free and and contact their local health care providers on an as needed basis. I imagine someone has already developed a workbook with automated exception formatting and graphs to do that. (Or someone should create that.)

    I think at the end of the day, Vitra does provide a value added service, but the question is if it is worth 400 bucks a month? That's the obvious question Diet Doctor should have posed in the accompanying text to be objectively dispassionate. However, I imagine other competitors will enter the market, providers will push back on the cost and pricing will eventually take care of itself. Or maybe Diet Doctor will clean up as the "best value" alternative :)

  8. bill
    Dr. E:

    Why not do the same hagiography on
    the HEAL Clinics? https://healclinics.com/

  9. Peggy
    Hi Andreas,

    I clearly understood from your initial announcement that this was produced and paid for with Diet Doctor funds. That's what bothered me most about it. If you had been sharing the company's own advertising, that would have been less offensive.

    In your comment above, you write, "On our member pages we already have 16 straight incredibly positive comments about the mini-movie about Sami and Virta (plus a 4.8/5 rating), nobody has said a negative word about it yet." This obviously isn't true, as there are a number of negative comments in this public thread (I actually thought I had made my initial comment in the membership section, but see now that was not the case).

    Furthermore, your discounting of negative feedback and pulling quotes from the member section into this public thread, just seems like more advertising to me and makes me wonder whether you or any of the other leadership or staff at Diet Doctor are investors in Virta.

    Finally, your statement that "We never push products or do advertising," is also untrue. You do now.

    Reply: #12
  10. Nils
    Hi, I just wanted to say i really liked the movie and i'm sad to see once again the negative people start writing comments that "this is product placement" and Diet doctor should not be doing these kind of movies.

    To recap, Diet doctor has a...
    Purpose: Empowering people everywhere to revolutionize their health.
    Mission: Making low carb simple.
    Values: Trustworthiness, Simplicity, Inspiration, and Goodness

    For all you people that managed to turn your life around without a support system like Virta, i'm beyond happy for you. For other's it might not be that easy. If this movie can help people get better, help to reverse their diabetes, with Virta or not (I could not care less to be honest), that is such an amazing thing! And believing that we will have true change without new money to be made by businesses like Virta, is extremely naive if you ask me.
    (And to to compare Virta to Weight Watchers? Really? Yeah maybe the cost, but the quality of the service?)

    I do however see how many people could view this as a commercial for Virta, but since Diet Doctor did not receive any money from Virta I purely see it as a way of highlighting what other people within the low carb world are doing that will assist in reaching the Purpose and Mission of Diet Doctor.

    I as a long term member fully support this video because I see it as a true source of inspiration to other people, other entrepreneurs, other "google dieticians" (as myself).

    Regards/
    Nils Viklund

  11. Jocelyn
    The way I see this disagreement is that the growing interest and uptake of the LCHF lifestyle will inevitably progress to more multifaceted forums, some of these profit driven. In other words the simplicity of LCHF will become tainted. But it is not necessarily all bad. From this will hopefully emerge better science, reviews and eventually mainstream acceptance.

    Besides some people do require more handholding and if in the USA it is covered by insurance. Well I guess that's okay too, but it is a health system that defies logic.

  12. Peggy,
    > "...makes me wonder whether you or any of the other leadership or staff at Diet Doctor are investors in Virta."

    We're not. Some might even consider Virta a potential future competitor to us, as we have somewhat similar goals and methods. But we still fully support them, as they are doing good in the world, and as it's the right thing to do.

    > "Finally, your statement that "We never push products or do advertising," is also untrue. You do now."

    I don't believe it's advertising to recommend something good to people, without being paid in any way for it. To me it's just an honest recommendation.

  13. Sal
    Hooray for your excellent video on Virta. It's exciting to learn about them and the possibility of millions of diabetics being helped. If we expect government diabetic guidelines to make a difference, we'll likely have a long wait.
  14. mary zokosky
    There will always be people with negative feedback... watch it yourself and decide you are worth it !!!!! Diet doctor has saved my life and any information he chooses to share with you is his to share !!!! I am thankful and forever in your gratitude !!!!! People have opinions ... choose your own. This is

    not rocket science it is health science it isn't hard to understand if you have diabetes your body does not like starch or sugar. A lot of doctors don't like that. It's easier to give you a drug. Drug and insurance companies have money it will take a lot to fight them and to win this struggle !!!! May GOD bless those who are trying !!!!!!

  15. Carol
    Well done team Diet Dr. As a member from day one, I fully support what you are doing. Have been following Sami's story with interest. Through vision like theirs and yours there is a chance to turn the health disaster of the modern world around. Don't let the naysayers bring you down. Keep your focus on the "Big Picture"!!!!
  16. Sami
    This is Sami, co-founder & ceo of Virta Health. I love the energy on this forum and appreciate the active dialogue in all forms. A couple of quick responses to the direct Virta comments:

    1) Re: Diet advice vs. Medical clinic: Virta is a full service medical clinic with full-time, world class doctors practicing medicine and helping all of our patients fix and optimize their metabolic health, including prescribing and de-prescribing medications safely. If you're looking to lose a few pounds by cutting carbs, that's not what Virta is about. In that case, I might recommend investing $7 (used book price) on Amazon to buy "the art and science of low carbohydrate living" book, which was written by my amazingly talented scientific co-founder and our Chief Medical Officer Dr. Stephen Phinney. His book is great value for money. (NOTE: If you're diabetic on meds, please please talk to a knowledgeable doctor before you try to DIY anything. This is not self-serving, but a serious note to those on diabetes meds, such as insulin)

    2) Re: Virta cost, Virta is 100% free to most of our patients, because health insurers and employers pay for our clinic's service. It's a smart investment for them, because Virta only gets paid for results and eliminating type-2 diabetes is on average $11,000/year/person of cost savings in the U.S.. If your employer or health plan doesn't cover Virta yet, I'd ask them to consider it, so you can get Virta for free.

    3) Re: Virta value, Type-2 diabetes costs about $11,000/year/person in the U.S. (Or $300B in total) Somebody pays that, every year, including many healthy people through taxes and increased health insurance costs. Nobody has been able to fix this epidemic before - it's just getting worse and worse (see recent NEJM published analysis, for example). Virta is not looking to add a single dollar into our health care costs, in America or elsewhere. Since we only get paid for actual positive results, if we are successful, we've saved both lives and money and that's a goal worth working hard towards. I wish more people would invest their waking ours towards goals like that.

    4) Re: the video that the DietDoctor team produced: there is no financial arrangement of any kind between the two companies or individuals involved. I said yes to the idea, as I thought we are all on the same mission to help as many people as possible restore their metabolic health through better nutrition and world-class medical care.

    Again, thanks for the active dialogue and critical questions.

  17. Tim
    Based on a related article in the NY Times, Vitra's target business model is based on insurance company and government reimbursement. So they are largely counting on significant third party subsidies.

    He who pays the piper calls the tune...Vitra will serve those who pay them. What the insurance companies and government wants, they will get.

    Everyone knows how that's worked out so far...

  18. Katherine
    The above comments are one reason I like Diet Doctor. Disagreements and differences of opinion challenge thinking. The high carb/ low fat adherents don't care for discussion (just ask Tim Noakes) and look where that orthodoxy has gotten us.
  19. Sharon
    Wow can't you see it is all about helping others in this world? It's obvious someone has to pay but look at the benefits. Nothing in life is for free. Big pharma charges lots for drugs and most of them have terrible side effects but I don't hear to many complaints about that! Virta is something that people should be aware of and decide if it is for them. Not everyone can get healthy on their own. Give it a break will you!

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