They say slashing consumption of rice, potatoes and sugar has the potential to halt one of Britain’s biggest health epidemics.Switching to a healthier lifestyle could save the cash-strapped NHS £10 billion a year - the amount spent treating the condition - and change people’s lives in just 12 months.
New data from Diabetes.co.uk, the world’s largest community of sufferers, reveals 7,000 Type 2 patients using a low refined carbohydrate dietary programme saved £6.9 million on medication in a year.
The startling statistics are revealed in a new book published today which aims to make millions of Britons happier and healthier.
Consultant cardiologist and co-author Dr Aseem Malhotra said: “Extrapolate this across the UK population suffering with Type 2 and we could save hundreds of millions in the use of medication alone.”He added: “Type 2 is a condition you want to avoid at all costs.
"Not only does it significantly increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and reduce life expectancy by up to 15 years but more than half of patients report chronic pain at levels similar to those with terminal cancer and a quarter suffer from depression, fatigue, sleep disturbance physical and emotional disability.
“The good news is it’s entirely preventable - but also reversible - and simple dietary changes through cutting refined carbohydrates can at the very least help patients come off medications.”
His “manifesto for change” is detailed in The Pioppi Diet which provides practical solutions to help solve the UK’s twin crises of obesity and Type 2 as well as reducing the risk of developing and treating heart disease.
It takes inspiration from the tiny southern Italian community of Pioppi, dubbed the world’s healthiest village, where average life expectancy is close to 90 - outliving the average Tour de France cyclist by almost 10 years but without any medication or prescribed exercise.
Central to how the plan works is the fabled Mediterranean diet which extols the virtues of eating like the Italians.
Diets rich in “real foods” containing natural fats, extra virgin olive oil, eggs, greens, nuts and devoid of refined carbohydrates, like white bread, are the key to a long and healthy life, experts claim.
The authors also suggest to stop counting calories as they do not reflect nutritional value and to keep active by walking.
They say cholesterol can be good for you and that movement is medicine, with subtle lifestyle changes more powerful than any drug in the prevention and treatment of heart disease.
More than four million Britons are now blighted by Type 2 and a further 12 million who live unhealthy lives are at increased risk.
It means 25 per cent of the UK population has, or could develop, an illness that can lead to blindness, amputation, heart and kidney disease, strokes and even death.
New cases are diagnosed at a rate of one every two minutes.
A staggering 52 million prescriptions for Type 2 patients were issued last year - a rise of 81 per cent over the past decade - at a cost of over £1billion, figures from NHS Digital reveal.
And the total £10billion cost of treating sufferers is equivalent to £1 in every £10 of the entire NHS budget.
Type 1 diabetes sees the body automatically destroy its own insulin producing cells but Type 2 is largely brought on by lifestyle.
Cases have spiralled out of control as a result of the UK’s obsession with eating sugary snacks. There have been calls for the condition to be renamed carbohydrate intolerance disease to reflect the impact of diet in onset.
Anti-sugar campaigner Dr Malhotra said: “Simple diet changes have rapid and substantial benefits not just for patients with Type 2 but for high blood pressure and heart disease too.
“Bringing together decades of research my book is a healthcare manifesto to reverse the obesity epidemic and our healthcare crisis within a year.”
Charlotte Summers, of Diabetes.co.uk said: “Type 2 is one of the greatest challenges facing the NHS with devastating complications for people if the condition is not managed properly and a huge bill for the NHS.
"We are seeing phenomenal results from people taking a lifestyle first approach on the low carb programme which is saving NHS budgets and lives.”