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‘The Truth about Carbs’ on BBC 1

Published on 23rd May, 2022

Dr Xand van Tulleken investigates different types of carbohydrate and how they may be impacting our health in this hour-long documentary, which aired on BBC 1 on the 6th of June 2018. You can currently view the documentary here.

The documentary contains a lot of useful and interesting information on carbs and their effects on the body, delivered in an easily-digestible way, using expert interviews, animations, testimonials and lab test examples to articulate points.

There are some areas of the documentary that could use more elaboration, and there are perhaps a few inaccuracies. Most notably, the idea of simply switching from white bread, rice and pasta to wholegrain versions comes up multiple times during the documentary. While this swap does offer a few benefits, wholegrain carb-based foods are still likely to spike the blood sugars of someone with diabetes, and so this is likely a much less effective strategy than reducing total carb intake. This doesn’t seem to be fully appreciated in the documentary.

There are many topics discussed, but the take-home message essentially boils down to being more careful about the quality and quantity of carbs you’re consuming, in order to stay metabolically healthy.

The documentary features its own low carb trial, where a group of participants (some overweight, some prediabetic and some type 2 diabetic) follow a low carb plan for two weeks, with the help of doctors David Unwin and Faisal Maassarani. All of the participants managed to lose half a stone in those two weeks, with one of them, a type 2 diabetic of 17 years, being well on his way towards remission. These results are amazing and are completely in-line with the growing library of research and testimonials around the low carb lifestyle.

Overall, the documentary is a big step in the right direction concerning health and nutrition on television, reflecting the shift in thinking that is currently taking place.

If you’ve got a spare hour one evening, or over the weekend, why not give it a watch and see what you think?

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