Angel Pacana was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes a decade ago.

“It was kind of devastating to find out,” she said. “At the time I was diagnosed, I thought, ‘oh, I’m not diabetic,’ but I had been feeling bad for a while.”

Now, Pacana, who is a customer service supervisor at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE), is working to improve her health through Virta.

Virta is a program clinically proven to reverse Type 2 diabetes using a combination of nutritional ketosis, medical supervision and one-on-one health coaching. Recently, BCBSNE partnered with Virta to offer the program to employees and their dependents with Type 2 diabetes.

Pacana joined the program in late February. Since starting Virta, she has found support through her medical team and health coach, who she connects with daily on the Virta app.

“It’s not just a free-for-all,” Pacana said. “They’re telling you everything to do, and they’re helping you, but you still have some ownership and responsibility.”

For participants, part of that responsibility includes taking daily measurements of their weight, blood sugar and ketones, which are chemicals the liver makes when the body breaks down fat for energy. Participants then log the information into the Virta app for their medical team to review.

Participants are also responsible for sticking to the Virta diet plan.

“It’s really interesting because a lot of people are like, ‘you can’t eat bread,’” Pacana said. “I’m like, ‘I know, but Virta shows you how to eat your food, so you can still be fulfilled without having bread or starchy vegetables. I’m not bored, and I still have creative ways of making food.’”

Since joining the program, Pacana has lost weight, reduced her daily insulin dosage and has been taken off some of her Type 2 diabetes medications.

“It’s been going great,” she said. “I’m learning a lot.”

Though she’s experienced setbacks, Pacana stays focused on her health goals.

“I want to keep the numbers going in the right direction, so even if I stray, I get back on the program,” Pacana said. “I look forward to continuing to make progress with Virta.”

BCBSNE currently has 33 employees participating in the program, said Melissa Young, BCBSNE strategic partner liaison.

“We believe in supporting our employees’ health and well-being,” Young said. “By offering the Virta program to employees, we have been able to increase our current engagement efforts.”

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