Diabetes and pre-diabetes continue to be a major health concern, with over 50% of adult Americans affected by this chronic and progressive disease. Traditionally, diabetes treatment includes lifestyle changes (diet and exercise), and when those don’t work, costly prescription diabetes medications, including insulin. Meanwhile, Virta, whose founders include Stephen Phinney, M.D., Ph.D. and Jeff Volek, Ph.D., R.D., experts in the low carb and ketogenic science and co-authors of The New Atkins for a New You, has created an innovative continuous remote care model, which includes guidance from a health coach and medical provider to help its patients stay in nutritional ketosis through a customized approach and individualized treatment plans, as well as encouragement and support from a private online community of their peers. Because, after all, study after study has found that low carb and ketogenic diets are effective in improving markers of blood sugar control and reducing medication use in people with diabetes.
To thoroughly assess the efficacy of this treatment for type-2 diabetes, Virta decided to put its approach to the test by enrolling 262 adult volunteers with type-2 diabetes in a two-year clinical trial. After one year, Virta’s approach was showing clinically significant health benefits. Participants lost weight, improved their HbA1c (an indicator of blood sugar levels), 94% of insulin users reduced or eliminated their usage and 60% significantly reversed markers of type-2 diabetes, while patients enrolled in a traditional program saw no changes to their HbA1c or medications.
Encouraged by these positive results, Virta extended the clinical trial of these participants to five years, and at the two-year mark, the results continue to impress as shown by this latest study, where they found that 74% of the original participants remain enrolled in the trial, and 55% maintained the reversal of markers of diabetes.
Lifestyle change requires commitment, and researchers attribute Virta’s success in combatting diabetes to the sustainability of a low carb and ketogenic diet that can be customized to each participant’s need, and continuous support and monitoring.