See the show
Dr. Mary Vernon will be one of a few physicians featured on the Diabetes Life Television program "What is good control," along with two of her patients.
The show will air at 6 tonight on the CNBC network, Sunflower Broadband Channel 40.
On the street
I think it’s pretty successful. I’ve tried it before, and it worked well. You have to watch it if you are going to be doing a lot of exercise, but it helps keep you trim.
Finally, Atkins and low-carbohydrate diet supporters have their vindication.
In a two-year Israeli study released Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, results show low-carb and Mediterranean diets helped patients lose more weight and lowered their cholesterol and sugar levels more than patients on low-fat or non-restricted carb diets.
According to Dr. Mary Vernon, a national expert in obesity and diabetes and chairwoman of the board of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians, this evidence substantiates her practice in using a low-carb diet to help diabetics.
Vernon, who practices in Lawrence and Shawnee, was an associate of Robert C. Atkins, who created the Atkins diet that has been the subject of debate for numerous years. She also co-wrote "Atkins Diabetes Revolution."
The study was sponsored in part by the Atkins Research Foundation and included a small population of diabetics as subjects, so its findings could still be up for debate in mainstream medicine. But Vernon has seen all the proof she needs that food choices can improve diabetics' lives.
"For years, carbohydrate restriction and the low-carb folks, those of us who really spent our lives telling patients they could regain metabolic control and kind of being ostracized for it, we're finally validated," she said.
Vernon said she had seen her patients lose weight, boost energy levels, lower cholesterol and maintain their blood sugar level, all with a low-carb focused diet, which she learned later in her career was a viable alternative to medicine.
She and two of her patients will share their success with the low-carb diet on a national television show, Diabetes Life Television, which will be broadcast at 7 p.m. tonight on CNBC.
If you had asked two of her patients to consider a low-carb diet years ago before they received diabetes diagnoses, they would have scoffed at the idea.
"I thought it was a bunch of rubbish," said Bill Simpson, 51, a retired Emporia State University computer science professor. After receiving a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis five years ago and "finally being talked into" the diet, Simpson said, "I know for a fact it saved my life."
He dropped 60 pounds, lowered his blood pressure and got off insulin all before he had a heart attack in 2004. He said if he hadn't lost the weight, he doesn't think he would have survived.
"I'm not the one that would go out and seek a diet," said Susan Ludwick, 57.
Food, especially sweets, had been her weakness for years. Vernon gave Ludwick a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis in 1986. Ludwick tried to control her diabetes with medicine and diet and exercise for 20 years.
Ludwick, too, lost about 60 pounds, but she still suffered from fatigue and high blood pressure. In March 2006, she said she hit "rock bottom." It was time for a change, she said, and that's when she tried the low-carb diet.
Vernon said she gives patients the option of medicine or diet, and they decide what they want to try. "Nine times out of 10, they will try the diet," she said.
As soon as Ludwick returned home, she cleared her cupboards and refrigerator of carbs, she said. The diet hasn't been easy, but she encourages others who suffer from diabetes or know others with it to consider the lifestyle change. That's a reason participating in the show was important to her, she said.
Ludwick is committed to the changes.
"I think we have an epidemic of diabetes in this country, and I think a lot of that is the kind of stuff we put in our body," she said. "I never want to get back to medication. I never want to get out of the size of clothes I'm wearing today."