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Virta Health: Reversing Type 2 Diabetes With Low-Carb Diets & Coaching

Virta Health: Reversing Type 2 Diabetes with Low-Carb Diets & Coaching

Virta Health: Reversing Type 2 Diabetes with Low-Carb Diets & Coaching

By Ben Pallant, Abigail Dove, and Adam Brown
Study shows a 1% A1c reduction in ten weeks with reduced or eliminated medications in most participants. Is it the real deal? Read on for the details!
A brand new company called Virta Health launched this week with a bold vision to "reverse" type 2 diabetes without medications or surgery. The Virta model relies on extremely low-carb diets – less than 30 grams of carbs per day – paired with a diet high in fat and moderate in protein (learn more below). Virta calls itself an “online specialty medical clinic” because participants get access to a health coach and physician, online peer support, and ongoing information and feedback on their health.
Along with the launch, Virta published a 10-week study showing that its approach drives strong outcomes: 1% improvement in A1c (from 7.6% to 6.6%), significant medication reductions (especially in insulin users), and an average 7% body weight loss. Is this the real deal? Read on below for more details on the study, the program, and a Q&A with Virta.
Virta is currently available to people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes as a covered benefit through some employers/health plans, as well as to people able to pay out of pocket (cash pay). Financial assistance is available, as the typical cost is roughly $400 per month for the first year. Those interested in Virta can get more info here and apply for a free consultation here.
What kind of outcomes has Virta demonstrated?
Virta just published the results of its first 10-week study. The trial involved 262 people with type 2 diabetes, a Continue reading

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Ketogenic Diet – Diabetes Cure?

Ketogenic Diet – Diabetes Cure?

[HD: This is the second part of my duo about Diabetes and the Ketogenic Diet. In Part 1, Why This Endocrinologist Hates Diabetes, I discuss…uh…why I hate diabetes. You don’t have to read Part 1 to appreciate Part 2, but I recommend it just for context.]
The available strategies for weight management in type 2 diabetics don’t work very well. It’s not that the advice to eat less and move more is bad, but people just aren’t very good at following it in a way that is sustainable, producing lasting results. On top of that, I give them diabetes medications (e.g. insulin) that may impede their progress. So, I ask: what can we do to control blood sugar and reduce weight, which will ultimately lead to better long-term control of glucose levels by reducing insulin resistance?
Enter the Ketogenic Diet!
Those of you who are familiar with not only my writing style, but also what gets my quack-o-meter dialed up to 11, are probably thinking, “Ooh…I can’t wait to see HD rip KD a new one. Let’s get it on!” As much as I enjoy debunking extreme diets based on lousy/no science (hcg diet, anyone?), I also enjoy presenting ideas that are extreme, but also may have merit. This is one of those times.
So what is a ketogenic diet (KD)? There are plenty of sites where you can dig into the details, so I’ll present just a quick overview. In general, it’s a very low-carbohydrate diet that tends to be high in fat. There are various iterations, but a common macronutrient percentage-of-daily-calories breakdown would be 70/20/10 fat/protein/carb.
70% fat?! That sounds revolting! I Continue reading

How Low Can You Go? Expert Advice On Low Carb Diets and Diabetes

How Low Can You Go? Expert Advice On Low Carb Diets and Diabetes

Can blood sugar be better managed by following a ketogenic diet? An expert explains the benefits and the risks.
Low-carb diets seem to have made a comeback—Atkins, Paleo and more recently the ketogenic diet—all follow a low carbohydrate regimen and claim greater weight loss and even improved glycemia in people with diabetes.
While there is no doubt that carbohydrate restriction has the most significant improvement in blood glucose (since foods that contain carbohydrates can spike blood sugar after meals or snacks), the question remains:What is the “ideal” grams of carbohydrate for people with diabetes to consume?
According to the American Diabetes Association 2017 Standards of Care, “there is no single ideal dietary distribution of calories among carbohydrates, fats, and proteins for people with diabetes." The previous recommendation of 45-60% of calories from carbs is no longer supported by evidence. Instead, the distribution of carbs, protein and fat should be individualized "while keeping total calorie and metabolic goals in mind.” What works for one person with diabetes, might not work for another.
Still, ketogenic diets have gained popularity thanks to celebrities like Lebron James and Kim Kardashian claiming superior athletic performance, mental well-being, and faster weight loss.
The medical community is even testing the effects of the ketogenic diet on cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. The ketogenic diet seems to be trending now, but is this diet really safe for people with diabetes? Here's what the research says:
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
B Continue reading

Study: Heavy mouthwash use linked to higher risk of type 2 diabetes

Study: Heavy mouthwash use linked to higher risk of type 2 diabetes

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Could obsessing over fresh breath lead to needing insulin shots?
A new study out of Harvard University makes a baffling connection between mouthwash and type 2 diabetes.
While mouthwash kills off the bacteria that create bad breath and cause cavities, they can also smother good bacteria. One of the good bacteria mouthwash can kill is nitric oxide, which is important for regulating the metabolism and blood sugar levels - a major factor in diabetes.
Of the 1,206 people who participated in the study, the researchers found those who used mouthwash two or more times per day were 55 percent more likely to develop diabetes over a three year period.
The British Dental Association does not list mouthwash as an essential component to good oral health, and the American Dental Association warns while mouthwash “may be a helpful addition to the daily oral hygiene routine for some people,” it is “not a replacement for daily brushing and flossing.”
"This may mean you need to cut back on the mouthwash, but for all of our sakes, please don't stop brushing!"
RELATED: 10 myths about diabetes and food
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Why there’s been a dangerous diabetes spike around the globe

Why there’s been a dangerous diabetes spike around the globe

According to a new study from the World Health Organization, diabetes cases have quadrupled over the last 40 years, mostly in poorer nations. Today, 8.5 percent of all adults worldwide suffer from the chronic disease, and 3.7 million deaths are linked every year. For more on the emerging health crisis, William Brangham talks to Dr. Etienne Krug of the World Health Organization.
Read the Full Transcript
JUDY WOODRUFF:
And now, an alarming new report about the dramatic growth of diabetes across the globe.
The World Health Organization said today that an estimated 422 million people are now suffering from this chronic lifelong disease.
William Brangham has more.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM:
The WHO’s report tracked the global rise of diabetes over the last 40 years. And it showed a quadrupling of the number of cases worldwide. It’s now estimated that 8.5 percent of adults in the world have the disease, and the costs are tremendous. An estimated 3.7 million deaths every year are linked to diabetes and higher-than-normal blood sugar levels.
The fastest growth of the disease has been in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Joining me now is Dr. Etienne Krug. He’s the World Health Organization’s point person for dealing with diseases like diabetes.
Dr. Krug, these are genuinely shock numbers. How do you explain this incredible growth of diabetes?
DR. ETIENNE KRUG, World Health Organization:
Well, we have seen a steady growth now for several decades, which largely, particularly for people with type 2 diabetes, is linked to our changes in the way we eat and changes in our levels of physic Continue reading

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