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Monday 2 July 2018

North Bay pharmacist opens low carb clinic to help people with diabetes, weight loss

Erin Pitkethly's Robinsong Health Low Carb Clinic is the first of it's kind in northern Ontario, she says

If your meals usually include a slice of bread or a bowl of pasta, the thought of adopting a low carb diet may not be something you're interested in.

But a North Bay pharmacist says adopting that diet can not only help you lose weight, but could improve your overall health.

Erin Pitkethly, a pharmacist who specializes in the management of medical conditions and weight loss with a low carb approach, recently opened Robinsong Health Low Carb Clinic in North Bay.

She says she once thought following a low carb diet was not healthy. But she changed her mind after researching the topic.

"I was seeing people with diabetes getting worse and worse, people getting their legs amputated, people having to go onto dialysis, and I knew there was a better way," she said.

"The more I read about it, the more I saw a real divide between what I knew was possible for people and their health and what I was seeing in practice."

Pitkethly trained with family physician Dr. Evelyne Bordua-Roy in Quebec and says she's the first pharmacist in Canada with low carb training. At her clinic, patients follow a low carb diet while being monitored by a health professional. Any medication the patient may be on is monitored as well.

As diabetes rates in northern Ontario are 20 per cent higher than the rest of the province, Pitkethly says managing these medical conditions with a low carb approach could be beneficial in the region.

"That's a very high disease burden," she said.

"It's really an expensive disease to treat long term, because of the eventual complications. And unfortunately, the medications we have ... delay the complications ... they don't prevent them."

The patients she's been working with so far have seen success, she says. One patient who is diabetic was able to taper off insulin in three weeks.

Pitkethly adds low-carb nutrition can also be used for a number of health problems, including Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, a hormonal disorder found in women that can cause fertility problems.

"There are some doctors in North Bay who are using low-carb medicine and they've told me that they've had patients that have reversed their PCOS and had babies," she said.

"That's happened in the clinic where I trained as well."

Adjusting to low carb

It's not recommended to go low carb to try and control a medical condition, without working with your doctor or health care professional. However, if you do decide to try low carb, Pitkethly offers these tips.

  • Start by eliminating all sugary drinks, including diet pop, juice and athletic drinks like Gatorade. Also cut down on sugar in tea and coffee and aim to drink more water.
  • Try to cut back on snacks and aim for three meals a day.
  • If you are taking medications, especially those for blood pressure or blood sugars, you will need to work with a health care provider to properly manage these.
If carbs are usually an important part of your diet, Pitkethly says there are low carb substitutes for both bread and pasta.

"But when you stop and think about it, many carbs like bread, wraps and pasta are actually just a container or base for more flavourful food that goes in or on it," she said.

"They just don't add much flavour. So you can have the delicious pasta sauce on something low carb instead, or you can put whatever was going to go in your sandwich on a bed of lettuce and you will still get all the wonderful flavours that would have been in the sandwich."



Valerie-Jael said...

This clinic is a great idea! Hugs, Valerie

Tom said...

...a good service.

Anonymous said...

I very close to North Bay! A short drive an fact, this is wonderful news!

Anonymous said...

Such a good idea, we need more like this :)

Elephant's Child said...

Great idea.

only slightly confused said...

Wish we had one in our area.

Margie from Toronto said...

Great idea but I'm lucky as both my GP and Cardiologist here in southern Ontario are already onboard with this program.

Linda said...

Good idea. That is interesting about PCOS.

Margaret D said...

That's a good idea.
We had a pharmacy that did that year some time ago.

Teresa said...

Interesante. Buen día.

Carol Blackburn said...

Wow, this is wonderful of the pharmacy to do this. They need to be supported in their efforts. Bless them.

Helen said...

There should be one (or more) of these in every city/town round the world!!!!!

William Kendall said...

I had to look twice at the blog home page when I saw North Bay in the title. I've been there the odd time.

Linda said...

In the past, pre-diabetes, I would eat one sandwich and eat the filling only of the second sandwich. Today, I was going to eat a BLT, but decided before I read this that I was not going to eat the bread, just the lettuce, tomato, bacon, and some Miracle Whip. I know this stuff, but doing it is my downfall. Okay, not doing it is my downfall.

Magic Love Crow said...

This is excellent!!!