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GPs go forth

RCGP launches GP training on low carb diet for diabetes patients

GPs are being offered training about the ‘transformative’ benefits of a lower carbohydrate diet for type two diabetes patients through a new online course launched by the RCGP.

The 30-minute learning module, entitled ‘Type 2 diabetes and the low GI diet’, explains the role carbohydrates and the glycaemic index play in people’s diets.

It also ‘reminds’ GPs about ‘basic physiological concepts such as glycolysis, gluconeogenesis and lipolysis and their role in diabetes,’ said the RCGP.

The training is broken into three sections including an assessment of current knowledge, information about the benefits of a low carbohydrate diet, and a quiz.

It has been developed by Dr David Unwin, who previously won the NHS Innovator of the Year award in 2016 for his research into a low carbohydrate diet as an alternative to drug therapy in type two diabetes.

Dr Unwin, who wrote the module in collaboration with, said: 'Implementing a low-carb approach for people with T2D has been transformative for our patients and practice staff, with significant diabetes drug budget savings into the bargain of over £35,000 a year.

'Many patients understand they should give up sugar but still consume high glycaemic index carbohydrates that digest down into surprising amounts of glucose.

‘We see proud patients putting their diabetes into drug-free remission on a weekly basis by cutting the carbs.'

RCGP medical director for eLearning Dr Dirk Pilat said: ‘This course discusses the role of carbohydrates and the glycaemic index in our diet and specifically its importance for individuals with type two diabetes.

‘It reminds primary care health professionals about basic physiological concepts such as glycolysis, gluconeogenesis and lipolysis and their role in diabetes.’

‘Using real-world examples, it discusses the importance of a low-GI diet for patients affected by diabetes and how to maximise the potential of lifestyle modification to create patient impact,’ he added.

Research has previously shown type two diabetes can be reversed through an intensive weight management programme. The programme includes a low calorie, nutrient-complete diet for three to five months, food reintroduction, an increase in physical activity and long-term support to maintain weight loss.

Readers' comments (7)

  • Knowledge is Porridge

    This guy is inspiring,
    I assume an RCGP learning module will be crap (they lost me at the login page - sorry), but jumping straight to Unwin Carb on YouTube gives a real flavour of what, why and how he has achieved amazing results, saved money and given him a new joy for being a GP. We all need a bit of that!
    *noting my comment above to be curmudgeonly I gritted teeth and reset my RCGP password and did the course. Despite how much I hate elearning modules, there was some great info and I even felt a tinge of enjoyment. But YouTube still wins every time.

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  • The low carb case was made decades ago. Does remind us of the H.Pylori and Semmelweis germ theory fights. The obesity pandemic is a public health emergency that needs more than a RCGP module and a belated sugar tax. The RCGP and NHS are paying belated lip service to a problem that needs better and braver leadership. Dr Unwin has done excellent work but he stands on the shoulders of unacknowledged others who researched and campaigned before him, sometimes against politicians and sometimes against political medics. Kudos to great work but sometimes the grestest innovation is timing. Hopefully this won't be buried or be used as a smokescreen. Asking a gp to advise a diabetic on better management of carbs is necessary but not sufficient to address the 50%+ predisbeyic obese population. Reinstating public health budgets and changing the dietetics advice of the general population would be a start. It took 3 decades after good advice to begrudgingly hand a award to a good GP. Hopefully we address the real problem at its root and are not satisfied by a sticky plaster.

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  • Check out for huge amounts of information, recipes, and science.

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  • What I'd like to know is how to stick to the low carb diet given the toxic food environment. The willpower required is incredible, in the face of a busy lifestyle where availability of good quality low carb food can be sparse e.g. inner city corner shops where a cheese slice and a packet of peanuts are your best option. I've seen this diet work brilliantly for patients with fatty liver and Type 2 DM but it's sticking to it that's the challenge, for them and me!

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  • Yet still the official NHS advice is imploring the great British public to base their diet around starchy carbohydrates, it's crazy how long dietary advice has taken to catch up with the evidence. And still diabetes nurses are telling people to go low fat....

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  • Unfortunately most of the patients I see are too thick to follow a low carb diet. But I have had success with a reasonable minority of people now- at least they know where they should be heading e.g. chicken bacon and avocado salad vs huge bowl of pasta so kudos to the people leading this movement

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  • Drachula

    You don’t have to be a RCGP member to do the modules but you do have to sign up to an account. BTW all the modules are sponsored by various interest groups. Which is why there’s a module on alopecia....

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