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Dr. Travis Einertson Reverses Diabetes in 70% of His Feline Patients (A Video Interview)
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Travis Einertson, a Minnesota veterinarian who is becoming increasingly well-known in veterinary nutrition circles for using low-carbohydrate diets to treat diabetes in cats.
As anyone reading this article already knows, in dogs and cats (just like in people), digestible carbohydrates enter the bloodstream as glucose. And so, at first glance, Dr. Einertson’s low-carb approach to feline diabetes hardly seems revolutionary. It’s just common sense.
But in the modern-day veterinary nutrition community, where common sense often seems to be in shamefully short supply, Dr. Einertson’s approach is actually quite unique. And more and more practicing vets are starting to take notice.
As he explained to me during our conversation (full video below), two things seem to be driving his rising popularity.
The first is that his approach to diabetes is unconventional. While there is universal agreement in the veterinary community that dietary matters are crucial to treating diabetic pets, most vets ignore the approach of outright carbohydrate restriction. The leading veterinary nutrition texts instead recommend a focus on “complex” carbohydrates and an increase in fiber intake, both of which have been shown to be at least somewhat useful in improving glycemic control by slowing glucose absorption.
Dr. Einertson takes a more direct approach: just eliminate the carbs altogether. If slowing postprandial glucose uptake is helpful, shouldn’t eliminating it as much as possible be even better?
In the modern-day veterinary nutrition community, this kind of clear thinking causes you to stand out. But what’s most eye-catching about Dr. Einertson isn’t his reasoning, it’s his results.
In his feline patients, he’s not just getting marginally-better outcomes than most vets. He’s literally putting the disease into complete remission in 7 out of 10 of his patients. The vast majority of his feline patients do not require any supplemental insulin whatsoever. Their diabetes has been reversed.
Read that again. It is not a misprint.
We covered a lot of ground over the course of our one-hour conversation. So in addition to the full video of the interview, I’ve also added an outline below. For those of you who don’t have time for the whole enchilada, you can navigate directly to the topic that most interests you, where you’ll find a citation to the appropriate starting point in the full video. (If you’re just here for tips on management of dogs with diabetes, I recommend at least listening from the beginning through 13:00 and then 39:40 through the end.)
As you’ll see, the reasoning and results are so undeniably compelling that it’s hard to imagine they won’t lead to major paradigm shifts in the veterinary community over the next ten years or so.
Fortunately for you (and any diabetic pets you might have in your life), you don’t have to wait. You can start right now.
[2:04] Differences between canine diabetes and feline diabetes and why complete remission of canine diabetes through carbohydrate restriction isn’t realistic.
[5:40] Why haven’t we see more studies on the impact of carbohydrate consumption on health in dogs and cats, when we see so much in humans? And why aren’t more vets conversant in these subjects?
[13:00] Where does Dr. Einertson’s interest in nutritional topics come from and what have his experiences been treating diabetic cats?
[16:40] The “mainstream” approach to treating diabetic cats and dogs and the difficulty in having conversations about “non-mainstream” approaches.
[20:43] Veterinary perspectives on the significance of evolutionary heritage and clinical experience to matters of health and disease.
[23:32] New companion animal nutritional research coming out of University of Guelph.
[27:06] Why does Dr. Einertson recommend canned/wet diets as part of his feline diabetes protocol?
[30:40] Other companion animal health applications for low-carbohydrate diets, including weight loss.
[32:33] Can a dog or cat even become obese without dietary carbohydrate?
[34:30] Specifics of the behavior and ecology of modern-day wolves, including dietary habits.
[36:20] Studies concerning the impacts of time-restricted eating on dogs and cats.
[39:40] More on canine diabetes (and how it is different from diabetes in cats), continuous glucose monitors, and other new technologies.
(Note that Dr. Einertson misspoke here. Dr. Ludwig is at Harvard, not Mayo.)
[50:04] We lose our connection and bring the conversation to an end.