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An Army Doc: The Paleo Diet and CrossFit Reversed My Pre-Diabetes

The dramatic results in such a short time took me by surprise, and I began reviewing the medical literature for evidence behind Paleo and other low-carbohydrate diets. I found a growing body of evidence that low-carbohydrate diets can help control type 2 diabetes. For example, both the 2014 Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes published by the American Diabetes Association and a recent review article in the Nutrition journal support low-carb nutrition therapy as an option for type 2 diabetics. Despite the really good evidence, low-carbohydrate diets for diabetes remain controversial. However, just like the statin and diabetes link, I believe that the research will continue to show that a low-carb diet is safe and effective for type 2 diabetics.

Since my prediabetes diagnoses, I have continued to pursue my interest in fitness and wellness, taking a slightly unusual career step and signing up for a mid-career fellowship in sports medicine. It’s more usual for doctors to choose a specialty right after residency, but the Army gave me the flexibility to pursue my interest in helping Soldiers stay healthy and achieve greater fitness.

Related: Change Your Ways, Reduce Your Risk: 7 Tips for Preventing Diabetes

The Future of Medicine

Primary care sports medicine physicians treat anything from a sprained ankle to heat stroke to diabetes and heart disease, and we are on the front lines of keeping people healthy and fit.  An important part of my job is counseling soldiers — who are like highly-trained athletes — on fitness, nutrition and injury prevention, as well as other wellness and lifestyle changes.  And because I am a family physician, I get to see patients of all ages, including the spouses, children and retirees.  I am tired of treating the seemingly never-ending onslaught of preventable conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 79 million Americans, more than 1 of every 3 U.S. adults aged 20 years or older, had prediabetes in 2010. I believe that to reverse this trend, healthcare needs to change its focus. The future of medicine should be to keep people healthy instead of waiting to treat them only when they get sick. We need to work on identifying disease in the preclinical state in order to prevent it from turning into disease. Prediabetes is a perfect condition to target because with lifestyle choices, we can prevent many cases from turning into full-blown diabetes. My job as a family physician is to fuel the inner motivation in people, and give them all the available tools and resources to help them make those difficult but life-changing choices.

Related: 10 Things Raw Food Dieters Know That You Don’t

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or positions of the U.S. Army, Department of Defense or U.S. government.

Lt. Col. Robert Oh is a physician in the U.S. Army who is board certified in family medicine with an added qualification in sports medicine. In his current role he serves as Physician Lead for the System for Health and Performance Triad at the Office of the Surgeon General of the Army. You can follow his fitness journey on Twitter.


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This article originally appeared on EverydayHealth.com: An Army Doc: The Paleo Diet and CrossFit Reversed My Pre-Diabetes

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