Aunty Bron’s Real Story
The Debate Between Diets
Aunty Bron was a local Aboriginal Elder. She came to see me for the first time and told me she was overweight and had really poorly controlled diabetes. To put her diabetes control into perspective; we aim for an overall sugar level called a HbA1c of less than 7, and ideally around 6. Hers was 11.5, which is really out of control.
She was really confused because she had been told by some health professionals that some foods were good and bad, and the complete opposite by other health professionals. And when she went online, everyone disagreed on what the “best diet to lose weight” was. Is it low carb or low fat? Is it paleo or vegan? And so on.
This causes a lot of confusion for people and it also causes a lot of unnecessary debate.
And Aunty Bron’s story is a prime example.
The first new way of eating we tried was paleo, which I will cover in a future section, but basically means returning to a way of eating that her ancestor ate – wild animals like kangaroo, fish, shellfish, eggs, seeds, nuts, leafy greens and other non-starchy vegetables, roots and tubers like small sweet potatoes, small amounts of fruit like berries and some honey.
She was pleased to have some clear guidance here.
I saw her 3 months later and her blood sugar HbA1c was now 9.1, and she had lost about 10kg which was a big improvement. She felt great. So… paleo is the answer right?
Well… yes and no.
After another 3 months of this we repeated her bloods and weight and it had not changed a lot. She found it hard to stick to and I asked “why?” Interestingly she felt ethically bad for eating so much meat and in fact never really enjoyed meat, so she was going a bit hungry and grazing on breads and jam again.
She expressed a desire to go vegetarian, without diary but to include free range eggs and asked if that would work. As we will cover soon the answer is – yes it will.
So her new diet consisted of whole foods and plant based with eggs as well. She preferred this and has stuck to it ever since, the past 1.5 years. Her blood sugar HbA1c went down to 6.3 with no medication, meaning her diabetes had gone into remission. Her weight dropped another 12 kg. And she was feeling great at every level.
So which is better? I hope now you can see this is a silly question. What matters is you – you are the person on this journey. Your preferences, values and social context matters a lot. So, next we will go through the detail of the common dietary options, and you decide. Like Aunty Bron you may change over time, and that is ok too!