ONE of Scotland’s top nutritionists has called for diabetics to adopt an 800-calories-a-day diet – after 300 people beat the disease using his programme.
Professor Mike Lean, a human nutrition expert at Glasgow University School of Medicine, created the Counterweight approach which replaces meals with nutritional drinks.
The programme aims to help people lose three stone in 12 weeks, and is already available in a number of health board areas across Scotland.
It restricts daily calorie intake – usually 2,000 calories for women and 2,500 for men – to just 800 calories.
Hundreds of diabetics have tried the programme, and successfully lost weight and cured the disease in the process.
Success stories include Midlothian North and Musselburgh SNP MSP Colin Beattie, who lost 3.5 stone and is now in remission from Type 2 diabetes.
Professor Lean is now calling for all health boards to adopt his approach and “stop trying to invent the wheel”.
“If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, the evidence says you need to lose between two and three stones to take the diabetes away,” he said.
“Not tablets, more exercise or fad diets. If you want to turn that disease round and become not diabetic again you have to lose about a couple of stone in weight on a very well-designed, restricted diet.
“Everybody can do it. They just need to bite the bullet and eat less for long enough.
“It is time that all the health boards in Scotland stopped trying to reinvent the wheel because the Scottish government has done the research. Let’s get it out there to everybody.”
Beattie went on the diet after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes last January.
He lost 3.5 stone in eight weeks by drinking sweet and savoury nutritionally-balanced shakes, and managed to cure the disease at the same time.
“You can never guarantee it’s not going to reappear but at the minute I am within normal levels and I don’t have diabetes – I am in remission,” he said.
“I stopped my medication part way through my diet and by the end of the eight weeks I had chucked all the pills.
“One of the big incentives was that diabetes can do a lot of damage to you. It can make you go blind, lead to your hands and feet being amputated and conditions of the heart, kidney and liver.
“I lost 3.5 stone and went from a 40-inch waist to between 34-36. It is harsh, but worth the pain.”
He explained that a diet high in saturated fats was the reason for his weight gain over the years.
“My weight crept up over the years and I was eating a traditional diet of steak pie and fish suppers, the usual things we destroy our bodies with in Scotland,” he said.
“I feel good and better in myself because I’m not carrying this enormous paunch about.”
Diabetes Scotland recently released figures to coincide with Diabetes Week, which aims to raise awareness of the condition.
Of the 276,000 Scots diagnosed last year, about 17,200 had been newly diagnosed and 90% of the people had Type 2 diabetes.
The charity also estimated that as many as 45,500 people are currently living with undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes in Scotland.
Professor Lean added: “Ninety percent of all diabetes is Type 2 and that’s because people are overfat. You can be overfat without being miles overweight, so people don’t notice it.”