When a person is diabetic, their body does not produce or use insulin correctly. In Type 2 diabetes, people experience both insulin deficiency, where the pancreas does not produce insulin properly, and insulin resistance, where the body does not process the insulin well.
Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. It lowers sugar (glucose) in the blood by moving the glucose into the body’s cells. This is important because high levels of glucose can damage blood vessels, and the body cannot use the glucose to produce energy if the glucose cannot get to the cells.
People with diabetes need to monitor the glucose levels in their blood. While every body is different and individual results and targets should be discussed with your healthcare provider, some general guidelines are:
- Normal blood sugar: Under 100 mg/dL after fasting overnight; under 140 mg/dL two hours after a meal
- Pre-diabetes: 100 to 125 mg/dL after fasting overnight
- Diabetes: Over 125 mg/dL after fasting overnight; over 200 mg/dL at any time
Type 2 diabetes is generally treated with prescription insulin as well as dietary and lifestyle management. You may be wondering if it is possible to fully or partially reverse Type 2 diabetes naturally – read on to learn more about reversing diabetes!
Diabetes and You
Diabetes is becoming a worldwide epidemic with nearly half a billion people living with Type 2 diabetes. The rising numbers have prompted researchers to learn more about Type 2 diabetes.
For many years, Type 2 diabetes was considered incurable. Healthcare providers worked with patients to manage their diabetes, but nobody thought that it was possible to actually reverse the disease. Now, we are learning that it may be possible to lower blood sugar levels back into the normal range without insulin or other prescription medications.
Poorly controlled diabetes can affect the kidneys, the eyes, the feet, and many other body systems and parts. Reversing diabetes and keeping blood sugar levels in the normal range means that there will be no more progression of the disease and no more complications.
Reversing Type 2 Diabetes
Studies done by Lancet and the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism show that bariatric surgery results in a remission of Type 2 diabetes for 25% to 50% of patients even up to 10 years after the surgery. The DiRECT study reported that 46% of patients on a severely calorie-restricted diet (850 calories per day) experienced remission of Type 2 diabetes at one year into the study.
The American Diabetes Association has concluded that reducing the intake of carbohydrates is the most effective way to control blood sugar in people with Type 2 diabetes. Also, a meta-analysis published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that low-carb diets reduced the need for diabetes medication; lowered HbA1c, triglycerides, and blood pressure; and increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol).
For most people, cutting out carbohydrates is easier and more accessible than major, life-changing surgery or an extremely restricted diet. You should consult with, or at least alert, your healthcare providers before you make any major changes to your lifestyle or diet. Your healthcare providers are there to provide online diabetes support as well as monitor your blood sugar and insulin as your body adjusts.
When you eat high-carbohydrate foods, the sugars enter your bloodstream and raise your blood sugar levels. This isn’t healthy for anyone, but it’s obviously more dangerous for anyone who is living with Type 2 diabetes.
Foods that raise blood sugar levels don’t necessarily taste sweet. Many vegetables and grains are high on the glycaemic index, which means that they turn to sugar when they are digested. You can experiment with how your body reacts to foods by testing your blood glucose levels before you eat and then every 30 minutes afterward.
Some “sugary” foods that may surprise you include:
- Basmati rice (150 grams): equal to 10.1 teaspoons of sugar
- Boiled white potato (150 grams): equal to 9.1 teaspoons of sugar
- Boiled spaghetti (180 grams): equal to 6.6 teaspoons of sugar
- Whole-grain bread slice (30 grams): equal to 3.0 teaspoons of sugar
- Boiled frozen peas (80 grams): equal to 1.3 teaspoons of sugar
- Egg (60 grams): contains no sugar
With the growing popularity of the keto(genic) diet, it’s easier than ever to find low-carbohydrate staple foods and treat foods in the grocery store and at restaurants. If you do buy foods labelled for keto diets, though, you should be aware that they often contain sugar alcohols and those can cause gastric distress in some people.
Eating fewer carbohydrates naturally means eating more protein and fat to feel satiated. Both protein and fat are very low on the glycaemic index and therefore won’t affect your blood sugar, although some foods that are high in fat are also high in sugar; watch out for these.
If you’re looking to reverse your Type 2 diabetes, your shopping list should include poultry and seafood, other meats, eggs, tofu, and cheese. Moderate amounts of fibrous vegetables, such as broccoli, can be part of a healthy low-carbohydrate eating plan as well.
Reversing Type 2 Diabetes Naturally
Type 2 diabetes is a disorder of insulin production and insulin resistance, and it can lead to serious health complications if it is not controlled. Healthcare providers typically treat Type 2 diabetes with prescription insulin.
However, recent research has shown that it is possible to not just control Type 2 diabetes but to actually reverse the disease so that there is no need for prescription medications. Bariatric surgery, very low-calorie diets, and low-carbohydrate diets can all reverse Type 2 diabetes naturally.
Of these, a low-carb diet is the least invasive and most accessible method to reverse Type 2 diabetes. People who are interested in low-carb eating can find information and online diabetes support easily. A healthy low-carb diet does not have to feel restrictive at all; there are lots of delicious foods that can be part of this eating plan.