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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Dubai doctor prescribes new approach for Type 2 diabetics

Controversial doctor suggests diabetics cease medication and adopt a ketogenic diet instead

Khaled Al Ghaith, a Dubai resident, says he was ‘cured’ of his diabetes after four months on the diet Satish Kumar for The National
Khaled Al Ghaith, a Dubai resident, says he was ‘cured’ of his diabetes after four months on the diet Satish Kumar for The National

On World Diabetes Day, healthcare professionals are urging the public to focus on a healthy diet and lifestyle rather than medication.

But a South African doctor in Dubai is advocating a controversial approach to the disease and for Type 2 diabetics to stop their medication, which he said would “only kill you earlier”. However, many other doctors have disputed his approach.

Dr Graham Simpson, founder and medical director of Eternity Medicine Institute, said people should “wake up and realise that they are being misled because of a hypothesis that began in the 1970s and is recommended by doctors and dieticians until today”.

He said the textbook food pyramid has a high glycaemic index and would only accelerate death rates, as would the recommendations of every diabetes association around the world, and most dieticians.

“There are hundreds of data to back this up and everything you hear today about fat and cholesterol not being good for you is nonsense,” he said.

Dr Simpson said 52 per cent of Americans were diabetic or pre-diabetic. He said UAE numbers were closer to 65 per cent.

Figures from the International Diabetes Federation last year revealed that more than 1 million people live with diabetes in the UAE, placing the country 15th worldwide for age-adjusted comparative prevalence.

“This is a huge problem and a huge burden on health insurance but people are not talking about it,” Dr Simpson said.

He advocated a ketogenic diet that is high in fat and low in carbohydrates, and claimed to have helped hundreds of Type 2 diabetics in the UAE.

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“By following this simple diet and intermittent fasting, they have managed to reverse their diabetes and go off their insulin,” Dr Simpson said.

The keto diet recommends people eat 70 per cent fat, 20 per cent protein and 10 per cent carbohydrates. This contradicts guidelines from the Americans Diabetes Association, which recommend low-fat diets.

“Many doctors can reverse diabetes in a few weeks, and more importantly it costs nothing,” Dr Simpson said. “This is what we must be talking about on World Diabetes Day.”

Although many doctors disagree with him, he is in talks with local health authorities to train dieticians on the keto diet.

Dr Simpson’s patient, Khalid Al Ghaith, 43, from Dubai says he was “cured” of his diabetes after four months on the diet.

Mr Al Ghaith had Type 2 diabetes diagnosed 10 years ago and was prescribed medication for life. His sugar level was high and he weighed 110 kilograms.

Since starting the keto diet in June, he has lost 25kg and his sugar levels are back to normal.

“This isn’t a terminal disease, it is a metabolic one,” Mr Al Ghaith said. Eat right, exclude certain food and you will be healthy.

Dr Farhana bin Lootah, Internal Medicine consultant at Imperial College London Diabetes Centre in Abu Dhabi, disputed Dr Simpson’s claims, saying there was little data to support the claim that a specific diet could reverse diabetes.

Dr bin Lootah conceded that a healthy lifestyle did help to manage the disease.

“The dangers of any diet is when it is done without supervision,” she said.

She said the main concern with the keto diet was if a patient turned to unhealthy fats such as fried and processed foods.

Dr Abdul Razzak Al Madani, president of the Emirates Diabetes Society, said the public should be advised to follow “only what is clinically proven”.

Dr Al Madani also disagreed with Dr Simpson’s claims.

“The best approach is to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle,” he said.

“More than 90 per cent of diabetics suffer from Type 2 and, on World Diabetes Day, my advice to them is to exercise, eat healthy and follow your doctor’s advice.”