Category Archives: NHS

Obesity – who deserves the blame?

einstein

After Susan Jebb, the Government’s former diet tsar, said obesity is mainly caused by a person’s genes and the prevalence of junk food, other experts have hit out saying fat people should be told their size is their own fault. So just who SHOULD carry the blame for your obesity, asks a news article this weekend?

It comes down to the difference between ignorance and insanity.

It’s true that the food industry, Public Health, and the NHS in the UK have all mislead the public for years. Sadly knowingly for some time too. They ALL sold us the “low-fat myth” for decades. They ALL overlooked the fact that there was no real evidence against saturated fat. They ALL overlooked the weight of evidence against sugar for 40 years.

We became a fat nation! And I say obesity was encouraged because the organisations who should have protected us kept us in IGNORANCE. Ignorance about why we were really gaining weight. Ignorance about why  a whole host of chronic diseases have been burgeoning. Ignorance about the “unrelenting march” of diabetes reported last week.

But we know now! We know sugar is deadly. We know it has raised our levels of inflammatory disease to crisis point: diabetes, heart disease, vascular disease, some cancers and more. And we can no longer claim ignorance. We can no longer claim to being kept in the dark.

The food industry is showing very little sign of change. In the many months now since we lifted the lid on the nonsense that is “low-fat”, I’ve watched in near despair as more and more fat-free and low-fat products have been unleashed into the market-place – still claiming health-benefits. It sucks, it really does. But we are no longer ignorant to the truth. We can shake our heads in disbelief that they care so little. But we no longer have to fall for their dishonest hype!

I started speaking out against low fat as long ago as 2003 – and I have never knowingly put a low-fat-sugar-laden version of food into my body since. But I still do occasionally eat something with added sugar: a bite of chocolate, a slice of birthday cake, the occasional dessert maybe. And every time I do I know, and accept, that my behaviour is INSANE. Insane because there is enough information to enable me to make a better choice. Insane because I have enough knowledge to enable me to make a better choice. Sometimes I make insane choices, but I have to face the fact they are MINE!

I am at the point of awareness that any weight gain is certainly now my own fault, and I carry 100% responsibility.

Historically Susan Jebb is right – the past 40 years have largely been not our fault. But from here on in we are all responsible for our own food choices – as these experts suggest! And only when we accept our own responsibility, embrace our own dietary and behavioural change, take control over our own choices will things improve.

RebalanceDiabetes is ready and waiting to help anyone willing to help themselves. Give me a shout!

 

 

 

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Why you really need to think twice about bariatric surgery

imagesAre you still seeing reports that tell you gastric bands and bypasses are THE answer to obesity and Type 2 diabetes? OK so let’s talk about what the usual reports don’t tell you…

Already longer term problems are becoming known – and it’s a mystery why these things are ignored when the supposed benefits are heralded in the press and media.

Gastric surgery is far from being the life-long solution it is promised to be. Here are my top three reasons to think twice before diving onto the operating table:

The weight loss doesn’t last.

For at least a decade it’s been known that weight loss may be temporary. Bariatric Surgery Source – a comprehensive weight loss surgery resource – says:

“Weight gain after gastric bypass surgery is not guaranteed, but there’s a good chance that it will occur to some extent.” 

That “extent” was quantified in a press article a full 3 years ago – “a third of gastric surgery patients put ALL the weight back on” it was reported.

It is linked with greater risk of suicide.

The let-down of this reality has serious emotional impact. It has recently emerged that people who have had gastric surgery are more likely to go on to commit suicide – significantly after the initial weight loss period wains. Thankfully, this vital information WAS widely reported:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/852616

http://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/20151007/suicide-risk-may-rise-for-some-after-weight-loss-surgery?

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23297762

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3263730/The-dark-weight-loss-surgery-People-operation-4-times-likely-commit-suicide-twice-likely-self-harm.html

You WILL have to manage life-long nutritional deficiencies.

What I have never seen reported is that ALL bariatric surgeries lead to nutritional deficiencies. Some procedures have worse effects than others, but it is the case that patients require nutritional supplements for life.

If you’re thinking that’s a small price to pay, please think again. I’ve shared often before in my various posts that supplementation isn’t the best way to nourish your body. For a start, nutrients are more bioavailable from food compared to pills and potions – that means your body will take up nutrients from food so much more readily than from a supplement. Then there’s the fact that high potency supplements have been shown in clinical trials to be harmful – sometimes the harm clearly outweighs benefit. The full extent of this risk was highlighted last week in a shocking report revealing that thousands of medical emergencies in the US are directly caused by nutritional supplements.

How can it be then that on the one-hand the medical profession bemoan the dangers of nutritional supplements, calling for tighter controls, but on the other hand happily hail a type of surgery that means life-long supplementation is inevitable? I don’t get it. And I’m sure Hippocrates wouldn’t have got it either.

The RebalanceDiabetes approach stands head and shoulders above the others – food first! Food before surgery. Food before supplementation. It doesn’t rely meal replacement shakes, bars and pills. And it never will!

To find out more visit www.rebalancediabetes.com

Diabetes soars by 60% in a decade? Here’s the answer!

60%The media this morning is full of the news that diabetes rates have soared by about 60% in the past decade. As a consequence it’s proposed NHS services will creak even more.

So it was with great disappointment that I came across an article from just 3 days ago. Just 3 days ago the NHS itself published an article about weight loss diets. It is a far from helpful article, giving no clear guidance to anyone wanting to lose weight, and continuing to promote low-fat diets. Any suggestion that low-fat might be the way to go for anyone
is absurd, but suggesting this might be a better option compared with low-carbs could just be catastrophic for people living with diabetes – either Type 1 or Type 2!

So here it is as simply as I can write it: THERE IS NO ONE-SIZE FITS ALL when it comes to diet and lifestyle.

As far as low-fat is concerned it’s way overdue that we should lay this myth to rest. Low-fat = more sugar. In 2011 the Harvard School for Public Health declared “It’s time to end the low-fat myth“, yet 4 years on our NHS still thinks there’s any room for debate? Have they not yet realised that 40 years of low-fat diets have largely contributed to our current situation? Ever increasing rates of obesity. Ever increasing rates of Type 2 diabetes. NHS resources stretched with no hope in sight.

As far as low-carb is concerned? It’s a meaningless generic term in my book. An appropriate level of carbs for me – sitting here writing for you – would be utterly inappropriate, and likely far too low, for anyone with a physical job. What would be appropriate for a person with a high level of daily physical activity would be way too many for me. I can feel my middle swelling just at the thought of it!

It’s time to get with the plot. Educate people to understand what is appropriate for their own unique circumstances and individual needs. Support them to get great results. Watch the health of the nation improve!

Is your G.P. doing enough for your diabetes?

Doctor waiting for a patientData from the National Diabetes Audit 2011/12, released last year, showed only 5% of diabetes patients were referred to a structured education programme during that 12-month period, and of those, just 1% took up the programme.”

But Dr David Payton, RCGP clinical lead for commissioning, warned that increasing self-care support for diabetes patients would require a ‘huge amount of training’ for general practice, which might not be feasible…

These excerpts, from a report I read recently, prompted me to wonder why there is such apparent apathy in meeting recommendations by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) that EVERY newly diagnosed diabetic should be given access to structured education? Why would doing so need a massive amount of “unfeasible” training in general practice? 

Could there be another underlying reason? 

Could it be that G.P. targets for diabetes care are simply too lax?

You see, your G.P. practice has to meet specific targets, called QOF, in order to achieve its government subsidy.  Many practices are achieving these easily because they are simply too easy to achieve.

HbA1c is the measure used to reflect average blood glucose levels over a period of weeks.  For non-diabetics that measure is between 20 and 41 mmol/mol.  Get to 42 and you might be described as “prediabetic”.  At 48 a diabetic is thought to be in “good control”.  Above 59, a diabetic is at serious risk of severe complications from the disease.

G.P.s receive their maximum financial incentive when you reach 59.  They have no further incentive through QOF.  There is no financial benefit through QOF for your G.P. to help you reach “good control”.  

In my world that is not OK.  It’s simply not OK!

But this might tell us why doing more is “unfeasible“?  “Unfeasible” for your G.P.’s budget plan maybe.  But an absolute necessity in terms of your health!

health choicesThe big question this week is this:

“If you are simply not going to be given this opportunity within the NHS – what are you going to do for yourself?”

 

Diabetes is a problem. What’s the solution?

tonightWas it just me, or was anyone else not just a little disappointed by the Tonight program about Diabetes on Thursday?

It had some good points – and nicely got across the rising tide of obesity related Type 2 diabetes in the UK.  It highlighted the good work being done by Diabetes UK to identify people with the disease or courting it by being at risk.  It highlighted the horrible complications such as amputation and loss of limbs.

It did nothing, however, to suggest a realistic solution to the problem.  Sure it featured the good work being undertaken by Newcastle University to show that a restricted 600-800 calorie diet will reverse the symptoms at an early stage following diagnosis.  But there was nothing on offer for the majority of people living with the disease or at risk in terms of good long-term nutritional and lifestyle advice.

And I have to conclude today that that’s because the mainstream medical profession continues to bury it’s head in the sand, along with the food industry and our government, about what really needs to be done.  As we hit the all time record high of 4 million diabetic people in the UK isn’t it time for a sea-change?

What do I mean?

  • Real education about how the body uses food – it’s not OK for a hospital dietician or nurse or doctor to suggest you can continue to eat pretty much as “normal”, as in the case of the recent ex-CE of the NHS.
  • Hard hitting evidence about the consequences of not dramatically changing the way in which we eat.
  • Personal responsibility – because we need to change our eating habits!
  • Corporate responsibility – because the food industry is knowingly feeding you the stuff that will make you fat, sick and tired!
  • Stretch targets for the medical profession – rather than government incentives for the bare minimum as the QOF framework currently provides.

Is it just me?  Let me know!

Weightwatchers living off the fat of the land!

WW cheeseI am horrified today to read reports that the NHS have decided to refer obese patients with type 2 diabetes to Weightwatchers and their peers in an effort to meet NICE guidelines.

If these clubs worked we wouldn’t have such a huge issue with obesity today – they have been going long enough to have made a positive impact.  They haven’t!

Why?

Because it’s not in their interests to be effective.  A former director of Weightwatchers made this shocking admission in the BBC 2 documentary series “The Men Who Made Us Thin”.  This quote from the BBC media website says it all:

Jacques speaks to a former director of Weight Watchers, who admits that customer failure was a significant factor in the company’s profits: people have to keep coming back.”

The full horrors underpinning the flawed notion of Weightwatchers as our supposed national solution are revealed in other reports this week which expose the real truth about Weightwatchers branded food products.

Not a good news day for the health of the nation!

Opinions yo-yoing as much as weight loss?

yo yoAnother day, another theory in the world of mainstream medical science?  Last week the headlines ran with a story that weight loss at any age was beneficial – even if it ultimately was regained.  It’s not a story I chose to cover last week, because it was blatantly wrong in my opinion.  It absolutely matters if people lose and regain weight in that yo-yo dieting sense.  And it matters because it messes up body composition – causing a gradual exchange of healthy lean tissue for body fat.  This was identified in some good research a few years ago.  So the advice last week that:

A new study from the UK suggests it is never too late for adults to lose weight. No matter when in adulthood it happens and even if the weight goes back on again, it can still have a long-term beneficial effect on the heart and cardiovascular system.”

seemed pretty crazy to me! Even though it was a story reported in the Lancet, it was one that I couldn’t identify with at all.

And nor should the press have identified so readily with it – after all it’s a mere 3-4 years ago that the headlines warned of the dangers of dieting!  Then they said yo yo dieting was OK after all.  Then they said it was dangerous – again!

Was I wrong?  Well thankfully not – because the news reports this morning state the opposite of those headlines last week – that it is vital that weight lost stays off! This is a piece of reporting that I can happily share with you – because I know it backs up previous good quality research!

What this shows me – and what I want to share with you – is that it’s really important to understand the why behind the how when it comes to weight loss and health.  It isn’t enough to blindly follow advice without that advice having been explained in detail, and for you to understand exactly how the food you are being asked to eat will be processed in your body, what effects it will have, and what the outcomes are targeted to be.  And it isn’t enough for journalists to jump on a new headline without troubling themselves to look into exactly what they are reporting – because the result is another day another theory, and more confusion.  That’s not fair to those of you who are determined to look after your weight and health, but are being misinformed and misled by unsubstantiated reporting.

And that’s where RebalanceDiabetes is different: we don’t just tell you the how, we go to great lengths to educate you about the why.  At the end of a RebalanceDiabetes program you look and feel a whole lot better, but you also have the skills to look after yourself for life – no more confusion, just clarity!

Will the NHS collapse under the weight of obesity?

fat lassSo, according to Dr. Hilary Jones, the obesity crisis will be the thing that finally bankrupts the NHS?  Well I have no doubt that the costs associated with obesity and its consequences – diabetes, heart disease etc. – will indeed become an increasing burden on our health economy.

But I am thoroughly sick and tired of those responsible for creating the obesity crisis not being called to account!

First we have headlines that blame foods for our problems – I am thinking about the one that says “Fruit juice timebomb“, and the one asking “Why sugar is ruining our health“.  OK – again I have no doubt that these foods are harmful.  But foods do not promote themselves to us – people promote them to us!  The people who sell them; the so-called health professionals who promote them and advise patients to use them; and the policy makers who turn a blind eye to all this; they are the real culprits here: not the foods themselves.

In his article on his personal experience of dealing with diabetes the former Chief Exec of the the NHS, David Nicholson, openly tells us that his hospital dietician says that diabetics can “eat almost anything”.  Erm – NO!!

Then we have the lovely but totally misguided celebs who this week praised a massively overweight pole fitness performer on Britain’s Got Talent for being a great role model to young women.  Yes this girl has body confidence and pole-fitness talent, and I am truly glad she isn’t influenced by unhealthy skinniness, but to describe a 15-stone-heading-right-into-diabetes-and-other-health-problems-27-year-old-woman as a good example really doesn’t help the cause for a healthy nation. And before you get upset about me criticising Emma Haslam – I am not criticising Emma Haslam at all.  I have no idea why she is overweight despite obviously training so hard – but I am prepared to take a guess that she also is being criminally misled by the food and medical industries about just what constitutes healthy eating!

So this week I am right behind the calls for food regulation.

As David Nicholson identified for himself – he needed rules (not permission to eat anything he fancied – albeit on the background of a healthy diet).  He knew he wouldn’t hack it.  And now that we have a nation of people who believe they deserve, and can get away with, sugary treats on a daily basis, as the food industry would like you to believe, I sadly have to similarly conclude that many people can’t hack it either! And that’s because although I believe people really do try, their efforts are constantly undermined by mis-information!!

So sensible regulation it is then!

I am completely with Dr Tim Lobstein at the World Obesity Federation who said:

If obesity was an infectious disease, we would have seen billions of dollars being invested in bringing it under control. But because obesity is largely caused by the overconsumption of fatty and sugary foods, we have seen policy-makers unwilling to take on the corporate interests who promote these foods.”

And I am merely amused by Terry Jones’ (director of communications at the Food and Drink Federation) cynical claim that:

UK food and drink manufacturers were “already” supporting improvements to public health through many of the measures outlined in the recommendations.”

Sadly he does seem to be fooling an awful lot of people – along with those policy makers who have demonstrated a complete disregard for public health so far!

So will obesity cause the collapse of the NHS?  Well only with the help of the food industry, the medical profession and the government!

The NHS are STILL giving incorrect nutritional advice for diabetes

The evidence is there – low fat diets are NOT appropriate for people with diabetes (actually they are inappropriate for most people but that’s another story)!

Whether it’s an 8-year clinical trial comparing a diet in which 30% of calorific intake comes from fat beats a low fat diet for effects on HbA1c; or a randomised pilot trial that shows the less carbs the better for diabetes; or a randomised trial that shows “the low-carbohydrate diet induced lower insulin and glucose excursions compared with the low-fat diet“, all the evidence appears to be falling on deaf NHS ears. 

Why do I think this?  Well, a lovely client of mine has recently been diagnosed as “prediabetic” with a HbA1c of 43.  And the advice she has received, in the form of a 6-page letter, is to eat:

bread, pasta, chapatis, potatoes, yam, noodles, rice and cereals…cut down on fat – a low fat diet benefits health“.  

OMG!! as they say!

This advice couldn’t be more inappropriate. An the evidence has been showing us that for several years now.  Why have the NHS not moved forward in their archaic, and potentially dangerous, advice? If you are receiving this type of information from your GP please, please question it.  My blogs, FB posts, tweets etc. all point you in the direction of the most up-to-date nutritional research and advice for diabetes.

Here are some more recent findings – finally bringing good quality proteins into the equation:

Whey protein is being linked with lower rates of diabetes. Any good nutritional therapist will understand that protein is bound to be a vital ingredient in the formula of healthy eating for diabetes – just like good fats it slows the effects of carbs in your food helping to prevent glucose and insulin spikes, and keeps you feeling fuller for longer.

Take care on the amounts of protein-rich foods you choose however.  Portion control is important.  Those enjoying meat-feasts might be taking a good thing a step too far: consuming twice the daily recommended amounts of protein from meats has been shown to compound diabetes.

Confused?  Don’t be.  Protein is beneficial in appropriate quantities.  Shout up if you need help understanding what you own portion sizes should be!