So, as more and more people become familiar with the low-carb diet, are we looking ahead to a time when it becomes part of the norm?
Will there be a day when you can walk down the street and see low-carb restaurants everywhere? Their logos are the tender leaves and seedlings of various cruciferous plants, or cartoon images of some deep-sea fish. And, when you go in, will a professionally trained chef provide you with balanced and colourful low-carb food?
Will there be a day when you can register for a low-carb meal when you buy your plane or train ticket? And not worry about doing damage to your body as you travel.
Perhaps we are looking forward to a day where hospitals and offices will have canteens catering for the low-carb diet, leaving behind meticulous packing of lunches in the homes of diabetics everywhere.
Are we heading towards a time when meals in restaurants, shops, and canteens are all clearly marked with their carbohydrate, fat, protein, vitamin and mineral content for people with different needs to choose from? Perhaps there will even be low-carb diet experts available to help you choose or prepare your food.
Will it become normal to have low-carb diet consulting services around the country, helping fellow diabetics stay healthy? And schools that train professional low-carb health coaches and chefs. A whole nation of Dr Eric Bergs!
As a follower of the low-carb diet, and a certified health coach, I am optimistic that this halcyon time is not far off.
While we can never know precisely what the future has in store, there are many positive signs working in our favour. As I write, treating diabetes with a low-carb diet has attracted significant attention in medical institutions across the globe. Criticism for the diet has reduced, and there have been many exciting new developments.
On October 4, 2018, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) released a consensus report on diabetes, which for the first time included the low-carb diet in their adult diabetes management program.
On December 17, 2018, the 2019 ADA diabetes guidelines were released and recognized for the first time the benefits of the low-carb diet for diabetics.
ADA CEO Tracy Brown (a diabetic herself) personally recognized the positive effect the low-carb diet can have on diabetics.
On June 13, 2018, the UK's National Health System (NHS) announced that they would use the low-carb diet to support diabetic treatment.
In early 2019, more than 20 experts from China's class A tertiary hospitals jointly published the "Ketogenic Diet Intervention of Type 2 Diabetes Chinese Expert Consensus" in Practical Clinical Medicine.
In March 2019, “The First National Conference of Low Carb Medicine” was held in Nao - an Centre Hospital, China. Organized by several highly respected health organizations, the conference formally established a Chinese Low Carb Medical Alliance. The event saw experts exchange information about the latest developments in using the low-carb diet to reverse diabetes. Two documents were released as a result of the conference.
The “Low-Carb Medical Expert Consensus” confirms the following: Besides, the "low-carbon medical expert consensus" and "low-carbon lifestyle ten major initiatives" were released.
The consensus includes:
Long-term high-calorie intake is one of the major causes of overweight, obesity, type-2 diabetes, hypertension, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, hyperlipidemia, hyperuricemia, polycystic ovary syndrome, sleep apnea syndrome and other chronic metabolic diseases and related diseases.
Metabolic diseases are preventable, treatable and reversible nutrition-related diseases.
Chronic hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance are the common pathophysiological basis of chronic metabolic diseases.
The low-carb diet can effectively improve chronic hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance.
Lifestyle intervention based on the low-carb diet is the first choice for the treatment of chronic metabolic diseases and related diseases.
The low-carb diet can reduce or even eliminate the necessity for drug treatment of chronic metabolic diseases, and produce obvious effects on health economics.
The low-carb diet is a dietary therapy that needs to be implemented under the guidance of professionals.
The low-carb diet is not a routine diet, so its long-term use needs to be further studied.
The second document was the “Low-Carb Lifestyle Ten Major Initiatives”.
The initiatives that are to be encouraged are:
Reduce refined carbohydrates
Reduce refined sugar
Increase whole grains
Increase fish, meat, and eggs
Take one or two bites less per meal
Skip one meal every week
Take an extra 1,000 steps a day
Boiled water is the best drink
Get enough sleep
All this progress tells me that we are not far from the low-carb diet becoming part of the mainstream. As I have mentioned in previous chapters, the influence of capital is overwhelming. The outcry of a few people standing up for diabetics isn’t enough to make an impact. But, the power of government CAN restrict capital. And that is what we can see happening in the events mentioned above. Finally, the government is willing to step in.
Why now? You might ask. Well, the truth is, governments across the globe are hugely motivated to promote the low-carb diet. Because they are running out of money. Every country is overburdened with its own public health care cost, and trying to find every possible way to reduce medical expenses.
In countries that have a public health care system, and an old-age care system both the government and individuals are responsible for medical expenses. So, the greater the number of diabetics, the greater the medical expenses, and the greater the financial pressure on the government.
To put some actual figures onto the problem, the indirect loss caused by diabetes worldwide has reached US$1.3 trillion (9.1 trillion yuan).
The United States has over 30 million people with diabetes, and the US government bears an economic burden of over US$327 billion (about 2.3 trillion yuan), accounting for 1/3 of all disease-related expenditures.
In China, there are more than 100 million diabetics, and more than 500 million are latent diabetics. If each of them spent 1 million yuan on shots and medicine for diabetes their whole life, that would be 600 trillion yuan in total! In 2018, China's total expenditure on health was 5.8 trillion yuan, and the economic burden caused by diabetes was equivalent to the sum of China's GDP in 7 years, and more than China's total expenditure on health care for 100 years.
Does the government have that kind of money? I'm afraid not. Even the most economically stable government would not be able to handle this expenditure long-term.
First, the most prominent and direct problem—pensions. The increase of the elderly population means that the number of people receiving pensions increases, while the decrease of the young population means that the number of people contributing to the pension account decreases. China's pension payment adopts a payment-upon-reception model, that is, they take money out of the income of today's young people to pay the pensions of the elderly.
Since 2014, there has been an annual shortfall in China's social security fund. In order to fill this gap, the Chinese government provides financial subsidies to the social security fund. For example, in 2018, the subsidy was as high as 1.8 trillion yuan, accounting for as much as 22% of the total fund. With such a large amount of subsidy, national finance is under great pressure. If it wasn't for the state-owned enterprises, there would be nowhere to get the money from.
However, this appropriation is not a permanent solution. This year 10% of the shares of many central enterprises have been allocated. Will we end up with the social security fund owning a majority share in central companies? That’s not realistic. And many other countries don’t have state-owned infrastructure to borrow from.
Therefore, once there is an effective way to control the expenditure on diabetes, it makes economic sense for the government to be involved in promoting it.
You can clearly see this in current trends in Chinese policy. Take these quotes from the 2021 National People’s Congress. The three most valuable things in the future will be:
1. I’m healthy
2. I can make others healthy
3. I am on the way to spread health information
This sounds to me like the prelude to a low-carb diet age.
At the executive meeting of the State Council chaired by the premier of China's State Council, "promoting the development of the health service industry" was a key discussion. It was pointed out that the health service industry is the weak link in the modern service industry. If you improve people’s health quality, then you also ensure their livelihood. On a larger scale, you also expand employment, form new growth points, and promote economic transformation.
Governments are methodical, first preparing the ground with research, then publicizing the benefits of the low-carb diet. But we will soon move on to introducing policies and support.
One thing is for sure: the great business opportunity of the low-carb diet is coming, and fellow diabetics are in for a treat.
But why not jump on board as a pioneer, take this great opportunity, and thrive? The sooner you start to seek health, the better.