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Want to Dodge Diabetes? Lifestyle Trumps Drug Therapy.

Want to Dodge Diabetes?  Lifestyle Trumps Drug Therapy.

Two very large studies in prestigious medical journals both tell us with undeniable results – if you want to avoid development of diabetes then go for a walk with a stalk of celery. Drug therapy was far inferior in preventing the onset of diabetes in those at risk. The study simply asked patients to walk briskly for 30 minutes, 5 days a week and lose 7% of their current body weight. That equates roughly to losing a half a pound per week, which is an easy agenda if you simply replace starchy carbs with vegetables. (need more info? See my weight loss posts on this site)

Need proof? Well here is what the 2 studies showed us.

New England Journal of Medicine – 2002. Knowler et al.

This study looked at more than 3000 patients who were not diabetic but had poor blood sugar control and were at risk for becoming diabetic. They divided them into three groups giving one group a simple placebo (no treatment), the second group received the top diabetic medication on the market, Metformin. The last group was the “lifestyle group” who received simple instruction to change the diet to facilitate a 7% loss of weight and asked to exercise (brisk walk) for 30 minutes 5 days per week. Worth noting that only half of the lifestyle group was successful in following instructions. Despite less than complete compliance they blew the other groups out of the water with their results.

These folks were followed for approximately 3 years to see who went on to develop diabetes.

  • 11% of the placebo group developed diabetes in just 3 years
  • 7.8% of the metformin group developed diabetes
  • 4.8% of the lifestyle group went on to develop diabetes but recall that only half of these folks followed the program.

Weight loss – what impact did the intervention have on weight loss?

  • Placebo group showed no change in weight
  • Metformin group lost an average of 4.6 pounds
  • Lifestyle group lost an average of 12.3 pounds

These findings support the fact that the development of diabetes can be not only be delayed but prevented by lifestyle changes. The rate of adverse events with drug therapy was 6 times higher compared to the lifestyle group as metformin commonly causes gastrointestinal problems. Diet changes that result in weight loss will typically reduce any existing gastrointestinal problems.

Annals of Internal Medicine – 2005   Herman et al.

This study looked at the cost and efficacy of a similar protocol as it followed pre-diabetic or insulin resistant patients.

  • Lifestyle intervention following the same guidelines as listed above was able to delay the development of diabetes by 11 years in those that progressed. Most patients never progressed to diabetes.
  • Metformin use delayed the development for only 3 years.

Lifestyle intervention reduced the occurrence of diabetes by 58% whereas Metformin only reduced the occurrence by 31%.

Cost of therapy? 

The scientists evaluated the quality of life difference for these patients and took note of vascular disease and neurological complications that develop in diabetics, their overall life span, and the medical cost associated with living with diabetes. Their findings were expressed as “Quality adjusted life years” and showed that lifestyle changes expense was approximately $1,100 compared to the use of metformin and dealing with the consequences caused expenses of $31,300.

You don’t need to turn your life upside down overnight to be successful. But you do need to commit to making small changes that are sustainable and hugely beneficial. Start TODAY. Walk for 15 minutes and build up to 30 minutes by the end of the month. Add a vegetable serving or 2 to your present diet and keep doing so until you reach 5 to 6 servings per day. If you can’t do this for any reason than contact me and I will put the tools in your hand to make this silly simple eezy peezy.

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