Type 2 Diabetes Reversal in Kenya
The Diabetes Reversal Program (DRP) is fast gaining traction in Kenya as more people become aware they can control/reverse type 2 diabetes without relying on drugs. Until recently, the focus of the management of type 2 diabetes has been on medication, with consequent large increases in drug expenditure. However, the improvement in blood glucose control from drugs is not sustainable, and further medication is often required.
It is well-established that type 2 diabetes can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle; more recently, it has been shown that such a lifestyle can not only control type 2 diabetes but can also lead to the reversal of the metabolic abnormalities and in some cases to the remission of type 2 diabetes.
Since the launch of the diabetes reversal program in East Africa’s biggest economy, a year ago, many have been in a record rush to save themselves a lifetime on medication.
Healthtech, Medical, and Wellness platform, Afyacode LTD is spearheading this wave of change after introducing the Reversal program in the country in January 2019.
Afyacode Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Daniel Kiningu says this is a solution that can potentially lift more than 500,000 Kenyan adults and 25,000 children from the diabetes scourge.
Afyacodes’s Diabetes reversal program has been quite successful over the last 12 months and led to type 2 diabetes remission/reversal for some patients, weight loss, healthier lifestyles, the reversal of other chronic ailments, and reduction or complete cessation of medication.
“Our results have shown a major breakthrough in Kenya, for patients with type 2 diabetes can put the diseases into remission, saving on medication and later, on any anticipated cost of complications,” said Dr. Kiningu.
The diabetes reversal program relies heavily on encouraging a change in lifestyle as key to the treatment and management of diabetes and other related chronic diseases.
At Afyacode, Patients’ conditions are screened to identify the best treatment method that delivers desired results.
Type 2 diabetes can be put into remission/reversed “It’s possible to see that Type 2 diabetes might be a simple condition potentially able to be reversed back to normal by weight loss,” says Prof. Taylor.
Virta Health, a US-based Start-up that seeks to reverse Type 2 diabetes without medication, also found in its 2019 study that the condition is not a life-long sentence of disease progression and medication use. Further, 91 percent of patients who began on insulin were able to reduce or eliminate their dosage.
Low Carb high-fat diet (LCHF).
Foods containing healthy fats and proteins can help patients manage type 2 diabetes effectively. A low-carb diet means less than 130g of carbs in a day.
Diabetic patients now have a high chance to benefit if they increase uptake of low carbohydrate diets in their meals.
In recent years, there has been increasing evidence of the benefits of using a low carbohydrate diet as an effective treatment for people with type 2 diabetes.
A primary care practice-based study in the UK showed that such an approach led to significant improvements in HbA1c, body weight, and lipid profile that led to the withdrawal of medication in many cases. It has led to a reduction in diabetes-related drug expenditure for the practice of over 33%.
The American Diabetes Association has recently published a review of the evidence on different dietary approaches. They state that reducing overall carbohydrate intake for individuals with diabetes has demonstrated the most evidence for improving blood glucose levels.
The draft SACN report in the UK suggests that low carbohydrate diets are superior in improving glycemic control for up to 12 months, compared to higher carbohydrate diets, with no adverse impact on lipid profiles and a potential beneficial effect reducing medications.
Intermittent fasting is another way patients can adapt to lose excess weight, belly fat, and is an effective way to manage and reverse type 2 diabetes.
This fasting method is a potentially powerful habit that compels patients to voluntarily eat fewer meals from a few hours, to a day or even a week. However, “Patients seeking to extend Intermittent fasting beyond a day or even to a week are encouraged to do so but under strict guidance from a medical profession,” says Dr. Katambo.
The habit allows the body to use its stored energy by burning excess fat off, effectively aiding in weight loss and reducing belly fat.
Fat is stored energy; therefore, an increase in the time of fasting means you are increasing the amount of time required to burn food energy.
It is important to note that fasting is not starvation. When you fast, you can access food, but you have just chosen not to eat. Starving, on the other hand, means you suffer because there is no food.
Caution should, therefore, be taken to avoid starving yourself to levels that pose a greater risk to your health or even lead to death.
This old-age secret is fast gaining popularity after slowly fading over generations as people begin to unravel many health benefits that can help to counter lifestyle diseases.
“However, most people still fail on this powerful practice because the majority are not following the right fasting interval plans,” says Dr. Kiningu.
Very Low Carbohydrate High-fat diet (Ketogenic diet)
Patients may be put under a Ketogenic diet to accelerate the fat-burning process in the body, especially those who are obese.
Patients under this diet are encouraged to eat eggs, sausages, meat, fish, butter, oil, seeds, vegetables like kale, and nuts. They are also to observe a low daily intake of carbohydrates, usually between 20 to 50 grams.
Researches show that when patients go on a ketogenic diet, they lose weight faster compared to those on a low-fat diet.
The diet is beneficial in addressing obesity and is also good in treating leprosy in children. There is growing evidence that the Ketogenic diet reduces seizures in children and works just as medication for the condition.
The diet has also been very instrumental in improving blood sugar control and helping in the management of type 2 diabetes.
While the diet is very instrumental in taming high obesity prevalence rates in the country, following the diet has not been easy for many patients.
Sometimes, patients indulge in lots of unhealthy foods like heavy intake of meat, processed and salty foods.
“Because of its dietary limitations, dieters are encouraged to seek supervision from a doctor to adapt to this revolutionary diet. The presence of a doctor in the process is critical to help patients monitor and advise on nutritional needs for different individuals,” says Dr. Kiningu.
Very Low-Calorie diet
The UK’s initial evidence for reversal of type 2 diabetes came from using a very low-calorie approach, which is being promoted widely in the UK.
The very low-calorie diet has been shown to impact vital organs such as the liver and pancreas in diabetes patients. While following the diet, drastically reduces fats in these organs. For instance, a very low-calorie diet was discovered to reduce fat amounts in the pancreas. It was reduced from eight percent to six percent as seen in MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans. Eight percent was considered high whilst six percent was considered the normal range.
Many dieters count calories and often decrease caloric intake. The general public consumes between 2,000 to 2,500 calories. While the low-calorie diet intake is between 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day, the very low-calorie diet consists of at least 600 calories a day.
“While many benefits abound for diabetic patients following the low-calorie diets, there are a few downsides of these diets such as fatigue, constipation, and nausea. Thus, it is always essential to seek medical advice while trying new diets such as the very low-calorie diet” says Dr. Kiningu.