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Doctor Explains Why Low-Carb Works for Diabetes

Some experts believe type 2 diabetes can be reversed. Dr. Sarah Hallberg is one of them. She’s a physician and exercise physiologist who serves as the Medical Director at Virta Health, a company that claims to provide the first clinically-proven treatment to reverse type 2 diabetes using no medications or surgery.

Dr. Hallberg recently gave a presentation addressing the issue of type 2 diabetes and how it may be successfully treated.

Type 2 Diabetes is a Costly Epidemic

Dr. Hallberg states that figures from 2012 reveal that half of all American adults have either pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

She says that this epidemic is costly; not only in the human quality of life and lifespan but also economically as our healthcare costs continue to rise.

“Diabetes is Reversible”

Referring to type 2 diabetes, Dr. Hallberg emphasizes that type 2 diabetes may be reversible and that people need to know they’re not “trapped.”

She says there are three clinically proven ways to reverse diabetes and these are:

Bariatric surgeryA very low-calorie dietA low-carbohydrate diet

The current standard of care, she notes, doesn’t have the ability to reverse type 2 diabetes.

How Low-Carb Works

She shows a chart (see video below) that indicates how carbohydrates raise blood sugar quickly and sharply, how fat raises blood sugar to a negligible degree (or not at all), and how protein produces a slow and prolonged rise in blood sugar. Dr. Hallberg states that before diabetes happens, high insulin levels are the problem, and carbohydrates are by far, the most potent and quick instigators of insulin release compared to protein and fat.

“We have to instruct [patients] to eat what scientifically makes sense, ” urges Dr. Hallberg.

While she admits that people have their circumstances and preferences, she explains that the effect of these macronutrients is consistent for humans–and all mammals, for that matter.

For recommendations to be science-based, they need to adhere to this reality. This means that even “healthy carbs” raise blood sugar tremendously in people with a low tolerance for carbohydrates. How do you know if you have a low tolerance for carbohydrates? Well, do you have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes? If so, Dr. Hallberg would put you in the category of “low tolerance.” This low tolerance initially causes high levels of insulin and since she says that insulin is our “fat storage hormone, ” weight gain usually occurs, followed by elevated blood glucose levels.

Everyone is Suffering the Effects of Too Many Carbs

Dr. Hallberg also talks about how surges in glucose throughout the day are commonly seen in people without diabetes. She shares a look at her own CGM (continuous glucose monitor) data which reveals what happens when she consumes a dose of “healthy carbs” in the form of what she assumed would be harmless watermelon. Her blood sugar spiked to 170 mg/dl amidst a sea of normal blood glucose. She is now considering looking into the effect of fruit on the blood glucose of her non-diabetic children.

Watch the video below for more of Dr. Hallberg’s reasoning and evidence regarding low-carbohydrate diets for type 2 diabetes including:

  • How low-carb diets stack up against the DASH diet, Mediterranean diet, and plant-based diets
  • How diabetes is a progressive disease only because we treat with the standard of care
  • How research shows low-carb leads to medication discontinuation and lowering of A1c and cost savings
  • How research shows patients adhere better to low-carb than to taking medication
  • How patients lose weight and diminish their cardiovascular risks on low-carb

She concludes by saying that patients deserve to know they have choices and control over their diabetes and future health and providers should give it to them.


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