Kat Lay

Health Correspondent

The Times

Gerry Gajadharsingh writes:

“10% of patients over 40 in the UK, now have diabetes, a total 4.7 million people aged 17 or over and almost 1 million of those are undiagnosed. Given that 90% of diabetes is categorised as Type 2, insulin resistant, and is lifestyle related, people need to understand that the health consequences of poor glucose management can be life threatening, never mind the cost to the UK taxpayer.

We have been offering the Metabolic Balance individualised nutritional programme at The Health Equation for over 10 years and we are increasingly helping patients with Type 2. The programme was devised by an internal medicine doctor when he realised that just medical management (drugs) for Type 2 diabetics, without appropriate lifestyle change, was in many cases not giving great results. Many patients find this programme life changing and not just Type 2 Diabetics.

Many patients have glucose dysregulation, causing elevated insulin which tends to be pro inflammatory, and inflammation underlies most disease processes. Being taught how to adopt a better individualised diet can often lead to better clinical outcomes. We individualise a person’s diet through a comprehensive blood screen, the results of which are used to develop a bespoke nutritional programme. We then take them through a structured programme, which at The Health Equation lasts 6 months. During that time patients learn which foods optimise their metabolism and which do not. Understanding where glucose comes from (and I am not just taking about added sugar but the actual glucose load of ALL carbohydrates), how we can minimise its ill effects if too much is consumed or too frequently, in conjunction with eating adequate dietary protein and dietary fat.

Whilst this can be initially challenging for some patients, mostly to do with the effects of reducing sugar, akin to withdrawal symptoms, within a few weeks most patients are starting to feel the benefits. A positive side effect of most programme (assuming the patient needs to loose weight) is better weight management, again a good thing for Type 2 diabetic patients.

For further information you can download by iBook, The Health Equation A Way of Life, containing 10HD videos of me cooking and following the principles of Metabolic Balance.”

One in ten people over 40 has type 2 diabetes, a record level driven by the obesity epidemic.

Campaigners called for more action to protect younger generations from diabetes, including teaching schoolchildren that it can cause blindness and lead to amputations.

Analysing GP records and national surveys, Diabetes UK found that 3.8 million people received a diagnosis of the condition in 2017-18; 90 per cent of them had type 2 diabetes. In the previous year 3.69 million received a diagnosis of diabetes.

Two thirds of Britons are overweight or obese and Diabetes UK said that many cases could be prevented or delayed if people ate healthily, pursued more active lifestyles and lost weight.

Caroline Cerny, head of the Obesity Health Alliance, said: “The good news is that we can do something to halt this epidemic. Strong measures from government and meaningful action from the food and retail industry could transform our environment into one that encourages healthy options. This is why we need the government to fully implement measures in its childhood obesity plan, including restricting unhealthy food promotions and a 9pm watershed on junk food advertising.”

Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said that hundreds of thousands of those expected to have type 2 diabetes by 2030 would still be children or in their early twenties today. “It is good news, therefore, that health education is to be beefed up in school curricula from next year and teaching children about diabetes type 2 must be mandatory,” he said. “Telling them that they could lose a leg or go blind from the disease if they fail to look after their health might seem extreme but it’s the truth. And children at whatever age understand the truth when sensitively put.”

The charity estimates that almost one million people have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. By 2030 there are expected to be 5.5 million people in the UK with the condition.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin, or stops responding to it, causing blood sugar to rise. While not everyone with type 2 diabetes is overweight, the condition is strongly linked to obesity.

Family history and ethnicity also play a role in someone’s risk of developing diabetes. Black African, African-Caribbean or South Asian people are between two and four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than their white counterparts.

Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “Millions of type 2 diabetes cases could be prevented if we help people understand their risk and how to reduce it. Even though the older people get the more likely they are to have type 2 diabetes, it is never too early to know your risk so that you can make changes to prevent or delay it.”

Campaigners have called for a ban on packaging on unhealthy cereals that appeals to children. Action on Sugar and Action on Salt found that 49 per cent of children’s cereals would get a red label in front-of-pack nutritional information for their high sugar content.


What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes and occurs when the body stops producing enough insulin or becomes resistant to it. Blood sugar then rises.

What are the symptoms?
They can be vague and easy to miss, as they often come on over many years. They include going to the toilet a lot, being really thirsty, feeling more tired than usual and losing weight without trying.

How is it diagnosed?
GPs will arrange blood and urine tests to detect the disease.

Why are rates going up?
The rise is attributed to increasing levels of obesity and being overweight. Not everybody with type 2 diabetes is overweight but Public Health England has said that excess weight is the biggest risk factor.

How dangerous can it be?
By the time of diagnosis one in three people has complications with their eyes, feet, kidneys or nerves. Every week diabetes leads to 169 amputations, 680 strokes, 530 heart attacks and almost 2,000 cases of heart failure. More than 500 people with diabetes die prematurely each week.

How can I check my risk?
Diabetes UK has a “know your risk” calculator that will give you your individual risk of developing type 2 diabetes. People aged 40 or over are also eligible for a free NHS health check via their GP.

What can I do about it?
If you are overweight, losing weight can reduce your risk, as can getting more active. Weight loss has even been shown to reverse type 2 diabetes in clinical trials and the NHS is rolling out rapid weight-loss schemes to patients with the condition.

Yian Jones, 49, has had type 2 diabetes since 1990. Complications mean he has lost the sight in his right eye and may lose a foot.

“I didn’t realise how destructive diabetes can be if you don’t take it seriously,” Mr Jones, from Havant in Hampshire, said. His diabetes was picked up during a routine check-up when he was 21. He did not change his lifestyle and continued to put on weight, peaking at about 46 stone. In 2010 a gastric bypass helped him to lose half his body weight, but the condition had already taken hold.

“It began with neuropathy, which affects the sensation in my feet and frequently causes me to lose my balance,” he said. “Then ulcers and charcot foot developed. I have been treated by my local foot care team for the past five years but it’s been incredibly difficult.

“Most recently the surgeons needed to do a paring, where they cut out the rubbish and levelled off the bone. For a long time it looked like I would need a below-the-knee amputation and I’m still not out of the woods.”

He has had to give up his job as a social worker. “When you’re young you feel invincible,” he said. “I wish there had been more information out there and more people telling me what the outcome would be if I didn’t make changes. I feel like you need that man in the corner to say, ‘If you carry on like this then you could lose the feeling in your fingers and feet, or you could lose your eyesight’.”