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Low calorie diets in diabetes

Two years ago, in October, Diabetes UK launched its 15 Healthcare Essentials campaign. I know I have mentioned it in an earlier blog, but just thought it would be good to highlight it again, as the two-year mark passes. How easy is it to make sure that every aspect is covered when we see our patients, especially with increasing pressures on our time? In order to reduce omissions, I have a poster up in my room to remind me, for that very reason.

In 2012, Roy Taylor, a professor at Newcastle University, led a very small study looking at what happened when a number of people with type 2 diabetes were subjected to a 600-calorie/day diet, which was strictly controlled and monitored carefully for a period of eight weeks. The results seemed to indicate that under certain conditions, type 2 diabetes could be reversed, or at least sent into remission. It was so small however that further studies are necessary to test the hypotheses, and Diabetes UK has recently announced that funding has been provided for a large research project that it is hoped will provide definitive evidence of the impact of such a low calorie diet for those with Type 2 Diabetes.

At the time of the original study, a patient of mine was keen to try this type of diet, and more recently came in and asked why in England we were not trying this type of diet with our patients with diabetes. What she obviously had not grasped was that carrying out an experiment with 11 people does make this evidence that it could work in the general diabetes population. It will be a while before we know the outcomes of this trial, but it certainly sounds exciting and what a difference it could make to some of our patients, as there are those who would attempt this.

This week I am attending the Primary Care Diabetes Society annual conference at the Motorcycle Museum in the Midlands. It is a few years since I have been, but it certainly is an opportunity for networking as well as hearing what is happening in the world of Diabetes from the experts in the UK. We need to make sure that if we have the opportunity to attend meetings and conferences, we avail ourselves of them. There are many meetings that are provided free to us, including Nursing in Practice's own events, that are run in all sorts of locations so that wherever we live and work within the UK, we should be able to find something suiting our requirements.

Recently there have been a number of research projects taking places in Europe that could affect the way we manage our patients. I receive a monthly email from Diabetes UK which I signed up for a year or so ago and it keeps me up-to-date with such things. I learn about possible changes in managements, drug alerts and so forth. It is free and you can pick and choose what you read.

In my online diabetes course, our tutor asked us this week what were the limiting factors to good control in managing diabetes. My view is that we lack the resources - especially time, expert professionals, and most of all, finances. I wonder if you would agree on this. How do we handle perhaps the biggest challenge of all, patient adherence?