Diabetes Awareness Month: Going low carb improved my retinopathy symptoms

To celebrate Diabetes Awareness Month we’re showcasing some of the remarkable success stories of the diabetes community.
On Thursday we shared the amazing story of Rachel Griffin, a retired nurse who adopted a low carb approach and lost nearly six stone.

Weight loss is one of the many benefits of going low carb, which include reduced HbA1c levels and even being able to put type 2 diabetes into remission. One of the less reported benefits, however, is reduced symptoms of complications.
John Dixon was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes aged 66, and also had signs of diabetic retinopathy (eye disease). He was prescribed daily metformin and told he may eventually have to be moved onto insulin treatment.
John wasn’t sure whether to trust his dietitian’s advice to eat carbohydrate at every meal, and had reservations about following the NHS’ Eatwell Plate. He began doing his own research and came across the Low Carb Program.
“I followed the program religiously since I joined in September 2017. I try and keep my carbs to 20-50g a day. In four months my HbA1c went from 66 mmol/mol to 44 (8.2% to 6.2), and in March this year I completely came off metformin – I used to be on 3x500mg a day.”
John also experienced improvements in several other health markers including his retinopathy.
“The retinopathy cleared and the tingling in my toes also went by Christmas. I had a blood test recently, which showed my HDL cholesterol (known as the ‘good’ cholesterol) has gone up and my LDL (known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol) has reduced, which is good.”
John was surprised by how much sugar was in foods he previously used to eat. He said: “All the foods that were high in sugar, like fruit for example. I used to have sugar sandwiches or a banana sandwich and 2 ½ teaspoons of sugar in my tea, also enjoyed chocolate bars as snacks, I had no idea how much sugar I was taking in.”
Now off medication, John is managing his type 2 diabetes with diet alone. His retinopathy signs have eased and he is enjoying eating a healthy, real-food diet full of delicious meals.
You can read John’s Low Carb Program story here. People with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes who complete the program sustainably lose an average of 7kg at the one-year mark.

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