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Diabetes; The Veterinary Record

Published: Monday, June 27, 2011

Yesterday’s Guardian led with a report of a Newcastle University trial on patients with Type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that a very low calorie diet was able to control and even reverse diabetes so that medication was no longer needed.
As Fiona, our Head Nutritionist, said “Isn’t that obvious?” I wrote to the Guardian to say that for years we’ve been using a low calorie diet to manage diabetes in dogs. I had the idea from my time spent studying Macrobiotics back in the seventies so nothing new there. The Newcastle diet was very strict – 600 calories a day, equal to less than 200 gr. Burns Chicken and Rice - so the subjects found it difficult to stick with it; I suspect a less strictly controlled calorie intake would also work but over a longer time-frame. No doubt my letter won’t make the cut.

I missed the original story but in March the New England Journal of Medicine reported that China is thought to have 90 million people with diabetes. It’s due mainly to a higher standard of living with more sedentary lifestyles and a “better” diet. This represents 10% of the population, the same as the USA. India is not far behind. The UK is at 4%. It seems clear to me that for humans and pets, a lower calorie diet will prevent much of this alarming trend.

The Veterinary Record 
There is a connection between diabetes and obesity and some months ago I wrote to The Veterinary Record about the obesity problem. I wrote that in our experience at Burns, the problem was being aggravated by some vets who were telling pet owners that their pets were underweight when they were merely lean. The editor wouldn’t print it because I didn’t have scientific data to support that.

This week the Veterinary Record carries a manufacturer’s blurb for a BARF-style pet food which claims that although the dog has changed greatly from its time in the wild, the digestion system has not changed. How unscientific is that!

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