Labour’s deputy leader has revealed he has put his type 2 diabetes into remission after completely overhauling his lifestyle and diet.
Tom Watson, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for West Bromwich East, said his diagnosis gave him the wake-up call he needed.
Speaking to Daily Express, the 51-year-old said: “It was last summer, as I huffed and puffed the 76 steps to my Westminster office, that I realised the damage I had done to my body and my health.
“Overweight, deeply unfit, addicted to sugar and fast foods, it was little surprise when the doctor told me I had type 2 diabetes.”
Once he had been told by his GP that his lifestyle had damaged his health, Mr Watson decided to make big changes.
Fantastic @tom_watson. Type 2 diabetes remission,”To all Type 2 diabetics I say: ‘Yes, we can’…”Sounds enjoyable too! A really important message for the 3.5million people in the UK with type 2 diabetes… And also the 10s of millions in the UK with related conditions. pic.twitter.com/Vmn3g8fBkS— Campbell Murdoch (@CampbellMurdoch) September 12, 2018
He said: “I vowed to change my lifestyle and began reading up about nutrition, exercise and diabetes. I started by cutting out sugar, refined sugar, then all processed foods in plastic trays and many starchy carbs.”
The MP read various books about introducing new approaches to eating, such as Dr Aseem Malhotra’s The Pioppi Diet, which is based upon consuming foods that are low in carbohydrates and high in fat.
Mr Watson also began monitoring food labels and exercising, which has helped him lose a total of 98lbs in weight.
“I don’t just feel healthier but stronger, happier and mentally far more agile. Today I am very happy to reveal that my type 2 diabetes has been reversed, it’s in remission. No longer having to take medicines for diabetes is a joy.”
Mr Watson is using his own experiences to form a speech he is delivering today at the annual conference of UK Active, a physical activity group. He has also unveiled he is working with a new independent group of experts looking into what measures could be carried out to reverse the sharp rise of newly diagnosed people with five years.
In Mr Watson’s interview with Daily Express he said he “reversed” his type 2 diabetes. This terminology is of great interest within the medical community at the moment, specifically the differences between what constitutes “remission” and “reversal”.
Campbell Murdoch, Chief Medical Officer of Diabetes.co.uk, said: “The language used to describe what to call type 2 diabetes, when there is long-term normal blood sugar without taking medication, has developed over recent years. Many people have been using the term ‘reversed’, but there has been some push back against this as others say this sounds like the problem is completely fixed and the body is behaving exactly like it was before the person ever had type 2 diabetes.
“As a consequence the favoured term has now become ‘type 2 diabetes remission’. Officially this means that blood sugar normalises for a period of at least one year and a person is free of diabetes medications (although some people remain on metformin as it for some people can provide addition benefit). The language and understanding in this area is still developing.
Our Low Carb Program has shown people can put their type 2 diabetes into remission by eating a healthy, real-food diet and getting regular exercise. Results show that people who complete the program on average reduce their HbA1c by 1.2% (13 mmol/mol), and 40% of people are able to come off at least one diabetes medication.
Picture: Jeff Overs/PA