How You Can Reverse Your Type 2 Diabetes Using Nutrition
An estimated 30.3 million¹ of Americans (roughly 9.4%) suffer from diabetes, and many more are living with the disease undiagnosed. Most of those with the disease suffer from Type 2 Diabetes, which is a metabolic disorder that results in hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels) due to ineffective insulin production or insulin resistance.
While manageable with medications, Type 2 Diabetes can be slowed, reversed, or mitigated with diet and lifestyle patterns. Many people have successfully ended their dependence on medications by changing their food and exercise habits.
Even if full remission is not achieved, a healthful diet and physical activity patterns can help those with Type 2 Diabetes manage their disease.
How Does Type 2 Diabetes Develop?
Those with Type 2 Diabetes do not use insulin properly within the body, leading to a state known as insulin resistance. Over time, the pancreas can’t make enough insulin to keep blood glucose levels normal.
Carrying excess weight, especially around the abdomen, is a risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes. The more fatty tissue on your body, the more resistant the cells can become to insulin. Physical inactivity and increased age are other common risk factors.
How Can I Stop the Progress of Type 2 Diabetes?
To reverse diabetes, a patient must break the cycle of strain on insulin-producing cells. While not easy, it is possible. Many people are able to slow or reverse their diabetes.
Adopting healthful diet and exercise habits are key in managing diabetes. Eating a robust diet with a variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, and lean proteins is a good place to start.
It’s important to monitor your blood sugar levels (related to carbohydrate intake) and ensure the timing and volume of foods, especially those rich in carbohydrates, is evenly spaced throughout the day to keep blood sugar levels from spiking.
Adding aerobic and weight-bearing activities to your routine may also help your body utilize blood sugar, and help you to lose weight, which, if you’re overweight or obese, can help you manage your symptoms.
What does “Reverse Diabetes” Mean?
Once thought to be incurable, the American Diabetes Association now defines complete diabetes remission as normoglycemia for at least one year (i.e., getting A1C levels in the normal range ² of <5.7%; <39 mmol/mol and fasting glucose of <100mg/dL) and partial remission as diabetic hyperglycemia (5.7–6.4%; 39–46 mmol/mol], fasting glucose level 100–125 mg/dL [5.6–6.9 mmol/L]) for at least one year.
How do People Achieve Diabetes Remission?
Though difficult and not yet common, some people are able to successfully reverse their Type 2 Diabetes.
Most clinical trials studying Type 2 Diabetes reversal involve intensive lifestyle management, often involving weight loss.
A 2014 study² examining the frequency of remission of type 2 diabetes with lifestyle intervention concluded that in overweight adults, intensive interventions with weight loss were more likely to result in partial or complete remission compared with diabetes support and education alone.
Moreover, a 2016 study3 examining the effects of a very low-calorie diet on patients with Type 2 Diabetes found that a robust and sustainable weight loss program was efficacious in lowering fasting plasma glucose and potentially reversing Type 2 Diabetes.
And a 2014 study4 by the Second University of Naples showed a low-carb Mediterranean-style diet helped 15% of participants achieve remission within one year. Other diets, including low-fat diets, have also been tested, but with less robust results. It seems carbohydrate and caloric intake is most associated with reversing diabetes.
Bariatric and gastric bypass surgery5 have also been used to help people with Type 2 Diabetes achieve remission.
Where Do I Start?
Enlisting the help of a dietician or other qualified healthcare professional to create a diet and exercise plan is an excellent first step in striving to achieve remission.
If you are overweight or obese, losing weight may help you reach your goal. Filling up on nutrient-dense foods, spaced evenly throughout the day, is important. In addition to fiber-rich produce, lean protein, and whole grain products, supplements like Good Green Snack bars may support your nutritional needs.
Finding healthful, lower-sugar and carbohydrate versions of your favorite foods can also help (protein-packed Nuzest recipes may help provide some inspiration).
Incorporating physical activity is another key factor in your journey. Just be sure to consult a healthcare professional to met your individual needs before embarking on any sort of diet or weight-loss program.
Type 2 Diabetes is chronic disease, and management can seem overwhelming, especially at first. Working with healthcare professionals and educating yourself on a healthful lifestyle can help you take the first step in managing your Type 2 Diabetes.References