Despite the popular belief that a diabetes diagnosis is a permanent one, studies show that there are ways on how to reverse diabetes. To be able to explain better, we need to understand this chronic but manageable and even reversible disease.
Diabetes, The Cause, and the 2 Types
Diabetes is an illness related to elevated blood sugar (glucose) levels. While cells need glucose for functioning, it needs to be maintained at a constant level. A hormone in the pancreas, insulin, helps regulate the level.
To understand the cause of diabetes, we need to understand the 2 types.
Type 1 Diabetes
In Type 1 Diabetes, sometimes referred to as juvenile diabetes as it starts before the age of 20, is wherein the pancreas cannot produce insulin. The exact cause is unknown but usually, the body’s own immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
Type 1 diabetes is rarely reversible; one can essentially manage it by daily insulin injections since oral medication is not effective for this type. With dietary changes, however, one can reduce dependence on insulin and medications.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes, which is the more common type and usually occurs later in life, is when the body is not producing enough insulin or the body becomes resistant to insulin. The exact cause is unknown, although based on studies, physical inactivity and excess weight are contributing factors.
There are several factors contributing to the onset of Type 2 diabetes
- Excess weight
- Poor diet
- Inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle
- A family history of diabetes (15%)
- Hormonal problems like hyperthyroidism, PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome
- Excessive stress
- Exposure to harmful chemicals, toxins, and viruses
- Taking certain medications
The Complications: What happens when your blood sugar is too high
With uncontrolled blood glucose, high blood sugar levels can damage the vessels that supply blood to vital organs. This can increase the risk of certain diseases and health problems. The complications of diabetes include:
- heart disease (myocardial infarction) and stroke
- kidney disease which can lead to dialysis
- problems with blood circulation especially towards the limbs, leading to amputation
- sexual issues such as erectile dysfunction
- vision problems which can lead to blindness
How To Reverse Diabetes Naturally – There is Hope
Type 2 Diabetes can be reversed in many cases (but not all) with the right diet and lifestyle.
Even if not reversed, the right diabetic diet and lifestyle change can greatly reduce the dependence on medications.
Here are the ways one can improve the chances of reversing diabetes.
The Diabetes Diet
A study published in 2011 in the journal Diabetologia in 2011 by Dr. Roy Taylor found that out of 11 type-2 diabetics following the diet, all reversed their diabetes in under eight weeks.
This was concurred by one patient with Type 2 Diabetes, Richard Doughty, who also was able to reverse diabetes with a healthy diet.
This 2011 study was then followed by a 2016 study also on type 2 Diabetes reversal. Twelve patients whose diabetes was 10 years or less were able to reverse their diabetes and remained diabetes-free.
Foods to Avoid to Reverse Diabetes Naturally
Refined sugar – the most common sources of these are soft drinks, juices, and other sweet beverages. Even natural sweeteners like honey can also affect blood sugar levels. Better to use a natural sweetener like Stevia.
Conventional cow’s milk – when buying dairy products, buy raw, organic ones.
Carbohydrates / Grains – especially those with gluten, which, upon intake are broken down into sugar within minutes.
Hydrogenated oils – including vegetable oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, and soybean oil. These are processed oils and have been linked to many diseases, including diabetes.
GMO foods – check labels and Choose products that are organic and GMO-free. Common examples are GMO corn, soy, and canola
Alcohol – This includes beer and sweet liquors too, as they are high in carbohydrates. A study revealed that there was a 43% increase in diabetes incidence for those consuming 3 or more drinks per day.
Foods That Help to Naturally Reverse Diabetes
High-fiber foods – Aside from aiding in detoxification, high fiber foods slow down glucose absorption and regulate blood sugar levels. These include vegetables, berries, nuts and seeds (e.g. chia seeds and flax seeds)
Foods high in Magnesium – magnesium aids in metabolizing glucose; studies show that diabetics tend to have diets that are magnesium-deficient. Examples are pumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach, and yogurt.
Chromium-rich foods – such as broccoli, green beans, raw cheese.
Clean, organic protein – such as organic chicken, grass-fed beef, and wild-caught fish which contains omega-3 fatty acids.
Healthy fats – such as coconut and red palm oil help balance blood sugar levels. If you have to use butter, look for organic, grass-fed butter.
Supplements that help manage Diabetes and blood sugar
(This list of supplements is just for information that is available on the internet and you should always consult with your health professional for any medication or health advice)
Fish Oil – The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil helps in proper insulin function, prevents insulin intolerance, over-all improving diabetes markers.
Bittermelon Extract – Bittermelon helps reduce the symptoms of diabetes by lowering blood glucose levels and regulates the body’s use of insulin. It also reduces insulin resistance.
Chromium Picolinate – There have been studies that taking Chromium Picolinate daily shows substantial reduction of hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia.
Alpha Lipoic Acid – ALA has been found to turn glucose into fuel for the body. Aside from also improving insulin sensitivity, it also helps against diabetic neuropathy such as numbness and weakness caused by nerve damage.
Exercise and Increase in Physical Activity
Along with a supervised, low-calorie diet program, regular exercise is a must as it makes the muscles more sensitive to insulin and absorbs more glucose from the blood.
Your exercise need not be something so rigorous. Even walking 20-30 minutes daily, or simple stretches. If you want to reverse diabetes, combine a good diabetic plan with regular exercise.
Smoking and Diabetes
Smoking may make your body more resistant to insulin, which can lead to higher blood sugar levels.
It also results in poor circulation, thus compounding the problem the fact that diabetes destroys blood vessels that supply blood to the different organs. To reverse diabetes, quitting the smoking habit is a must.
Success Stories of Diabetes Reversal
Aside from the patients in the study of Dr. Roy Taylor, here are just a few success stories:
Richard Doughty – who was able to reverse diabetes with a strict extremely low-calorie diabetic diet.
Ceres – who went on complete diabetes in remission.
The Important Role of a Health Coach in Reversing Diabetes
With all these factors needed to manage or possibly reverse diabetes and thus prevent the serious, life-threatening complications along with it, the role of a health coach is extremely crucial.
Your health coach, along with your primary care physician, will give you a good diabetic diet plan, monitor your progress for weight loss along with your exercise regimen, on the road to managing or even reversing diabetes and keep diabetes in remission.