David Davis health: Former Brexit MP ‘not surprised’ when diagnosed with condition

David Davis is a name most people will associate with the vote to leave the European Union back in 2016. Under Theresa May’s premiership, he was appointed Chief Negotiator to negotiate Britain’s departure from the EU. Last year a routine medical revealed the MP had non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This diagnosis prompted the politician to overhaul his lifestyle and follow a healthy diet to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and the risks associated.

A government minister’s lifestyle is never healthy

David Davis, MP

As the NHS explained, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the term for a range of conditions caused by a build-up of fat in the liver. Having high levels of fat in the liver is also associated with an increased risk of serious health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease.

Leading an unhealthy lifestyle and obesity are major risk factors for the condition.

The former Brexit secretary admitted he fit this profile: “I was not entirely surprised by the diagnosis. A government minister’s lifestyle is never healthy. Being driven everywhere rather than walking, long days without time for exercise along with endless dinners and cocktail parties made me put on 25lb.”

Alerted to the potential dangers, the former Brexit secretary was determined to turn his situation around. He pursued a low-carb dietary plan to prevent the condition from leading to type 2 diabetes.

He said: “So I WAS astonished to find that over the past couple of decades, vast numbers of high-calibre studies have been performed on the biology of food, digestion and exercise — and how metabolic diseases are caused.

“I used the data to compare success rates of the two main regimens — low-carbohydrate diets and low-fat diets.

After weighing it up, he determined that going low-carb seems to bring the most health benefits.

As he explained: “The theory is that carbs, in the form of sugar and also starchy foods such as bread and pasta (which the body breaks down into sugars) trigger the release of insulin.

“Because insulin is a fuel-storage hormone, it makes your body build fat from the calories you consume.”

Since going low-carb in August 2017, the MP has succeeded in losing 100lb, keeping the risk of type 2 diabetes at bay.

There are not usually any symptoms of NAFLD in the early stages. A person will probably will not know they have it unless it’s diagnosed during tests carried out for another reason.

According to the NHS, the symptoms of NAFLD may include:

  • A dull or aching pain in the top right of the tummy (over the lower right side of the ribs)
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness

“If cirrhosis (the most advanced stage) develops, you can get more severe symptoms, such as yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes (jaundice), itchy skin, and swelling in the legs, ankles, feet or tummy (oedema),” added the health body. 

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