Reverse your diagnosis
HOW A CHANGE OF DIET AND LIFESTYLE CAN CAUSE OR CORRECT TYPE 2 DIABETES
TYPE 2 diabetes is rampant but reversible. That is the message from celebrity doctor and medical journalist Dr Michael Mosley, who is tackling Australia’s fastestgrowing chronic disease in his latest SBS series.
More than a million people have type 2 diabetes in Australia, according to government statistics, and many more are pre-diabetic, with blood sugar levels that are higher than they should be.
Mosley, author of The Fast Diet, says this is a timely topic during the pandemic as many people have changed their lifestyles amid lockdowns.
“People are eating more junk food since Covid and we can tell because the manufacturers that produce junk food, their profits have surged, and Uber Eats’ shareholders are very happy,” he says.
“Anxiety also encourages people to eat more.”
In Australia’s Health Revolution with Dr Michael Mosley, which premieres on October 13, Mosley and Gomeroi man and exercise physiologist Ray Kelly meet with eight Australians diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes and guide them through drastic diet and lifestyle adjustments to get their health back on track.
Mosley puts his own health on the line by demonstrating how quickly he can become pre-diabetic by eating and drinking fast food, soft drinks and “ultraprocessed” food.
“Ultraprocessed is a new classification and includes breakfast cereals, bagels and things you wouldn’t think of as particularly bad,” he says. “They generally arrive in plastic packaging and have a list of ingredients you have never heard of. (After two weeks) the diet had a very dramatic impact on my waistline, blood sugars and blood pressure.
“I felt dreadful, I started to sleep badly and was snoring loudly.”
Mosley then demonstrates how he is able to reverse his diagnosis. It takes him about another two weeks to get his health back to normal.
“The longer you’ve had problems, the harder it is to reverse – prediabetes is much easier to knock on the head than if you had diabetes for 20 years – but it is possible,” he says.
For anyone worried they are at risk of type 2 diabetes, Mosely recommends:
DO SOME RESEARCH
There are great resources on the Diabetes Australia website: diabetesaustralia.com.au
Mosley suggests using the online calculator to determine if you are in a significant risk category.
“If you are middle-aged or have a large waist – more than 86cm for women or 94cm for men – or if your
BMI (body mass index) is over 30, suggesting obesity, or if you have close family relatives who have it (you are at a greater risk),” he says.
“If you are non-caucasian – for example, Indigenous Australian, African, Asian – you are at much greater risk of developing it at a younger age and lower BMI.”
BMI is calculated by dividing your weight (in kilograms) by your height (in metres) squared.
“You can get a finger prick test at any chemist and if you are concerned, talk to your GP about it,” Mosley says. “You could buy a home kit for checking blood pressure as (high blood pressure) is linked to diabetes.”
GRAB A PIECE OF STRING
Mosely says a quick, easy way to check if you are overweight – and therefore prone to type 2 diabetes – is to do a “string test”.
“Measure your height (with the string), then fold in half and see if it fits around your tummy,” he says.
“If not, you are too big.”
Australia’s Health Revolution with Dr Michael Mosley premieres Wednesday, October 13 at 7.30pm on SBS.