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Medtech Impact on Wellness

Sarah Hallberg was charged with setting up a clinic to treat obesity and researched her way into a remarkable finding: the low-fat emphasis engrained in medical school as preventative of obesity had no real backing in actual outcomes. This started her journey that led to type 2 diabetes treatments centered on a low-carb intervention.

Listeners will hear about

  • How her research uncovered that this low-fat med school lesson didn’t play out in studies,
  • How she defines low carb and what kinds of results she got with patients who’d taken insulin for years, and 
  • How she blended her successful clinic work with Virta Health to produce a well-researched application for type 2 diabetic patients accessible to everyone.

Dr. Sarah Hallberg is the Medical Director at Virta Health; previously, she founded Indiana University Arnett’s Medically Supervised Weight Loss Program and still serves as their Medical Director. Even before medical school, she focused on physiology, exercise, and nutrition and fitness facts.

Her research into obesity before the clinic opened aligned with type 2 diabetes causes. She gives listeners an intriguing story about the dramatic effect the low-carb diet had on her patients at the Indiana University Clinic. In fact, the plan quickly morphed into a type 2 diabetes diet. Her work with the clinic and Virta Health on low-carb plans is reversing type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise in numerous patients.

Dr. Hallberg gives listeners a helpful picture of how this plan works as she defines what low carb means in her clinic. Generally, if under 25% of daily calories come from carbs, or if one consumes under 125 grams of carbs per day, it’s considered a low-carb diet by professionals. But she utilizes an even lower number, with less than 10% of calories from carbs a day, or less than 50 grams per day. She’s careful listeners understand that this is NOT a no-carb approach and some carbs are good providers of micro nutrients and such.

A small amount of those carbs will come from dairy and the biggest amount comes from non-starchy vegetables and seeds. She gives an interesting description of the physiology for these interactions as well as how adding whole-food fats make a difference. Finally she describes how the Virta Health plan and application works. It’s a direct-to-consumer product and provides users with frequent personalized contact with a health coach.

For more about the program, see

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