UK Doctor Saves Government £45K by Using Low Carb Diet to Treat Type 2 Diabetes


Dr David Unwin, a general practitioner (GP) in England has recently been named ‘Innovator of the Year’ at the national NHS Leadership Recognition Awards 2016.

Dr Unwin, who practices at the Norwood Surgery in Southport, spent three years working on a project combining the benefits of a low carb diet with psychological support to help patients with diabetes. As well as having much healthier patients, the practice now saves around £45,000 a year on diabetes drugs.

Imagine the impact on health systems if every GP instituted the same approach to our type 2 diabetics. Not only saving huge amounts of money, but also seriously impacting people’s health.

I wrote previously about Dr Unwin and the specific diet he prescribes for his patients here:

A UK doctor puts 18 patients with type 2 diabetes on a low carb diet with amazing results

Since I last wrote about Dr Unwin in 2014 he has had a further case study published in the British Medical Journal, about a patient who wanted to reduce his medication for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure:

A patient request for some “de-prescribing”

A 52 year old man with a history of type 2 diabetes for 14 years and hypertension for nine years presented to his general practitioner. He was a non-smoker with an alcohol intake of eight units a week. He had been experiencing bloating, abdominal pains, and erratic motions for more than a year. Because he drove about 12 000 miles a year for his job he found the loose motions “a real worry.” He wondered whether any of his problems might be caused by his drugs and asked if he could cut down on any if they weren’t all needed. He admitted to being afraid that his diabetic control might deteriorate and that he might need insulin, like some of his relatives who also had diabetes.

He was taking aspirin 75 mg once daily, metformin 500 mg three times daily, perindopril 4 mg daily, and simvastatin 40 mg at night.

On examination his weight was 108.8 kg (steady at this for 10 years), body mass index was 34.4, waist circumference was 113 cm, and his blood pressure was 130/80 mm Hg (steady at this level for some years). His abdominal examination was normal, except that he had central obesity.

Glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) was 52 mmol/mol (reference range 0-41), bilirubin was 7 µmol/L (0-20), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) was 53 U/L (5-37), and γ-glutamyl transferase (GGT) was 59 U/L (0-50). In addition, his estimated glomerular filtration rate was 100 mL/min/1.73m2 (90-120), total cholesterol was 3.7 mmol/L (desirable ≤4.0), high density lipoprotein-cholesterol was 1.3 mmol/L (>1.0), and triglycerides were 1.3 mmol/L (

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