By Marika Sboros
In a video below, Cape Town businessman Brian Berkman tells a poignant, cautionary tale of how he once weighed 153kg, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and left with self-loathing, believing the only option left open to him was bariatric surgery.
Bariatric surgery, in my humble opinion, is barbaric. Sure, it’s a miracle of modern medicine, and it saves lives. But it is extreme, invasive treatment for morbid obesity that can involve rerouting the digestive system past most of the stomach, or removing some of the stomach altogether.
And it doesn’t always work.
Berkman didn’t have the surgery. Instead, in 2011, he heard UCT emeritus professor Tim Noakes talking on the radio about the dangers of carbs for diabetes, and Banting – low-carb, high-fat eating – to treat it. The rest, as they say, is happier history. Berkman changed his diet drastically, cut the carbs, ate fat, and by 2013, was a shadow of his former fat self after losing half his body weight (73kg). He has maintained the weight loss till today, and has no symptoms of diabetes.
Best of all, he feels fantastic, energetic and alive. He says simply: “Banting (and Tim Noakes, as Berkman told me in earlier interviews) saved my life.”
Berkman‘s blisteringly honest story makes inspirational listening on losing weight quickly, safely, without feeling deprived and hungry. He proves that in all the hype, hope and science around diet and weight loss, it’s easy to forget that food is not just about nutrition or even only about health. It is embedded in the human psyche, a basic human need that’s as much about giving and receiving love as it is about survival.