The claim of a cure
I recently chanced upon a blog post titled “Dr. Jay Wortman Cured His Type 2 Diabetes with Low-Carb Eating” from a blog site called Diabetic Mediterranean Diet. I clicked a link in this post which led me to the blog post “How to Cure Type 2 Diabetes” from the site called Diet Doctor. (Please feel free to search for them.) While I generally ignore blogs, ads and articles with similar titles and claims, I read a few from time to time just to see what non-science based mumbo jumbo is out there. So against my better judgment, I checked these posts.
The main post (How to Cure Type 2 Diabetes) features self-professed diet doctor Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt’s interview with Dr. Jay Wortman, a doctor who is also a Type 2 diabetic, while they were on a low-carb cruise. This post and the repost refer to how Dr. Wortman apparently cured his Type 2 diabetes by adopting a very low-carb diet.
My angry reaction
This is not the first time that I’ve come across claims of a cure for Type 2 diabetes. I usually am merely annoyed by the ludicrous claims. But this time, my reaction to the posts was more than exasperation; it was anger. The way the posts are written, by medical doctors (I don’t really know but I’ll take their word for it), made it seem that a very low-carb diet can cure Type 2 diabetes, and by implication is the only way to address this illness, disorder, condition or whatever else you want to call it. I found the posts nothing more than a cheap, disingenuous and manipulative ploy to sell low-carb and very low-carb diets.
My stance on low-carb
Don’t get me wrong. I have no beef with low-carb diets.
Before I move on, let me make clear that I do not call my diet low-carb. The closest description, if that information is important to you, is probably “lower carb,” by which I mean my carb intake is generally lower than that of most Western population, but is not necessarily low-carb. Sometimes I say I’m a moderate-carb person.
But, I have no problem with low-carb diets as a whole. I’m a Type 2 diabetic for heaven’s sake! I acknowledge the significant role that reduced carb diets play in managing and controlling one’s diabetes. And it works for many, many people, both non-diabetics to lose weight and be healthy, and diabetics to lose weight, stay healthy and control their diabetes.
I do have a major problem with those who brandish low-carb diets about as a cure for Type 2 diabetes. Low-carb, very low-carb or, let’s take things to the max, zero-carb, diets do not cure or reverse Type 2 diabetes. (If I’m wrong, please tell me the science and which research and scientific study I should read to realize my mistake.) A low-carb diet, together with exercise, medication, insulin or even stress release (in various combinations), will certainly help many people living with diabetes achieve blood sugar levels close to a non-diabetic’s level, most of the time. Low-carbing alone may even be enough, as shown by Dr. Wortman’s example, but it does not rid one of diabetes. Low-carbing diabetics may claim to have no complications, but they are still diabetic.
Is it a question of semantics?
Dr. Eenfeldt thinks so. In the comment section of the post in question, Dr. Eenfeldt also asked “Do you really still have a disease if you are completely symptom free, possibly forever?” It sounds clever, doesn’t it? But it’s faulty. The question was raised regarding a Type 2 diabetic who controls his diabetes through a very low-carb diet alone. But this question equally applies to a Type 2 diabetic who controls his diabetes through other means. So, does a Type 2 diabetic who takes medication really still have diabetes if he is completely symptom free, possibly forever? If we apply the logic behind the original question, then many Type 2 diabetics can claim that they are “cured” through medication and without having to subject themselves to a dietary regimen that does not work for them. Yehey. We should all rejoice!
But I don’t dwell in fantasy land. The fact is, regardless of how I control my diabetes, I am not cured. If I have to keep taking medication to keep my blood glucose level under control, then I’m not cured. By the same token, if the only way I can have a blood glucose level that is the same as my non-diabetic husband’s, is to restrict my carb intake per meal, per day, every day, for the rest of my life, then how can I or anyone else claim that I’m cured?
For as long as I cannot eat chow mein and treacle tart with vanilla ice cream on the side, without my blood glucose going through the roof, then I am not cured. Whether or not I want to stuff myself with loads of carbohydrates every meal is beside the point. But personally, I want to have a large bowl of fruits, or a huge serving of mashed potatoes, or a plate of spaghetti aglio olio e peperoncino, every now and then, whenever I want to without worrying about my blood glucose. If I can’t do any of those despite adopting a very low-carb diet, then I’m not cured.
I may be healthier than a lot of non-diabetic people, I may have the A1c of a non-diabetic, and I may have staved off diabetic complications, but I’m not cured. I will consider a “cure” as a cure if and only if, after going through the “cure”, I can eat the amount of carbs that my husband can eat and get his blood sugar levels.
Now, can someone please tell me why some low carb advocates need to resort to gimmickry and false premises to lure people to their diet? Why is it not enough to credit low-carbing as an important tool in a diabetic’s arsenal to control diabetes? Because that is what it is, a tool, not a cure. The claim that low-carbing is “how one cures Type 2 diabetes” is a misrepresentation, and a misrepresentation is just a fancy name for a lie. And that does not sit well with me at all.